It’s not very common for civil society groups and cops to rally together to retain the top cop of a state. But that’s exactly what’s happening in Nagaland, where the incumbent director general of state Rupin Sharma is being replaced by John Longkumer, who is currently posted as the additional director general of the Chhattisgarh police.
However, Sharma’s transfer order had led to a public outcry in the state where anti-graft groups along with concerned citizens held a demonstration in front of the state police headquarter in Kohima and started a signature campaign across the state demanding the retention of the 1992 batch Nagaland-cadre IPS officer.
But what’s so special about the top cop?
Sharma is credited to have taken several people-friendly measures in the north-eastern state and have brought transparency in the police recruitment process.
In an open appeal to the President of India, as reported by Indian Express, a people’s right group, said, “Young Nagas are driven to Insurgency as a result of the blatant manipulation of the system by the corrupt. Funds, Jobs, Benefits and Opportunities are seized by the corrupt and their cronies while the ordinary citizen is left with nothing. Amid this chaos, disorder and darkness, Mr. Rupin Sharma has emerged as a beacon of hope for all the people of Nagaland. In the few short months that he has held the office of the DGP, he has done what no other Politician or Officer has ever done for the people of Nagaland.”
A big NO to back-door appointments
Speaking to Scroll.in, a police officer cited several reasons for their support. “Number one, is that he has completely stopped back-door appointments,” said the police officer, referring to the allegedly rampant practice of political appointments in the department. “He is not allowing any politicians to interfere, so that directly affects the ministers and politicians. That is why they seem to want him out.” Sharma also looked after the welfare of lower-ranking police officials and ensured they get all their incentives on time.
“He (Sharma) is a people’s DGP and an honest officer. He has done several good things for Naga people and has effected positive changes in functioning of the police department. Therefore he is enjoying full public support,” said a senior administrative officer at the headquarters told Indian Express.
According to the officer, more than 700 police officials participated in the signature campaign held in various parts of the city.
There is a petition on Change.org titled, ‘Naga people Seek to Retain Honest Officer DGP Rupin Sharma’, that has got more than 6000 signatures so far.
Multiple Facebook forums of young Nagas have also come out in support of the campaign.
Speaking to Indian Express, Pito Swu, the founder of The Naga Mirror, said, “This is a fight for the right against the wrong. It’s not a fight for religion or race. After a long time, Nagaland got to see an honest and transparent officer that we have been longing for years. The government does not want him so that they can do whatever they want”.