Kahuto Chishi Sumi
To understand the phenomenon of Rupin Sharma, IPS, one must understand the context of Nagaland. Nagaland comprises of 16 Naga Tribes and 4 non-Naga Tribes along with many different non-Tribal settlers in its towns and villages. Politics, Culture and Society always end up being fractured on Racial and Tribal Lines. Corruption is rampant in every aspect of life, making it the most corrupt State in The Union of India. Add to this the numerous Insurgent Groups, and you have a ‘Brew made in Hell’. Politicians, Bureaucrats and the Insurgents have formed an Unholy Nexus of Corruption. NGOs, Civil Societies, the Tribal Bodies and even the Baptist Churches have either been co-opted into this ‘Brew of Corruption’ or been silenced by it. And the worst aspect of corruption in Nagaland is that the corrupt are defended tooth and nail by their villagers, clansmen or tribesmen. The primitiveness of Nagas can be seen in the way we defend the corrupt of our society; we are ever ready to point out the crimes of others but are unable to condemn the wrong doers within our own tribes.
Rupin Sharma, an IPS Officer of the Nagaland Cadre, entered service in 1992. He served in various capacities, in Nagaland, with the Central Government, with Interpol and the United Nations. As Superintendent of Police of the Crime Branch in Nagaland, he broke a long running Pension Fraud and saved the Nagaland Exchequer thousands of crores of rupees. As the Director General of Prisons, he introduced Skills Development Programmes for the inmates which saw them earning money even while they were in prison. Furthermore, he opened bank accounts for the inmates where their earnings could be deposited. But his greatest achievements took place when he took over as Director General of Police on 23-11-2017.
To understand the changes Sharma wrought in the Police Department of Nagaland, one must understand the background. Apart from officers who join as IPS officers and NPS (Nagaland Police Service) Officers; recruitment for Constables, up to the rank of Sub-Inspector are rarely held. Even when they are held, all positions are divided among the Politicians and Bureaucrats, in advance; physical, written and oral tests are just a formality. Promotions and postings are wholly arbitrary without any uniformity whatsoever. They are under supplied in every aspect; and their pay and perks are subject to all sorts of deductions. Thousands of crores of rupees under the Police Modernization Programme has been siphoned off.
Enter Sharma as DGP- he opens his office to every Unit of the Nagaland Police so that the jawans may bring up their grievances; he establishes an Open Recruitment Programme with merit as the sole basis of selection; he opens Centrally Subsidized Canteens in police units across Nagaland; he ensures that promotions will be based on merit and performance; he ensures that the policemen and policewomen receive their full pay and perks, and even pays the travel allowances of policemen going on duty outside the state, in advance. These are just a few of the things he has done in his short stint as DGP
The direct measures he has undertaken in the Police Department has earned him the gratitude and love of the ordinary Naga policeman and policewomen. His ‘Programme of Transparency’ in the recruitment to Nagaland Police has earned him the love of the educated unemployed Naga youth; and his standing up to corrupt politicians and bureaucrats has earned him the respect and admiration of all right thinking Naga elders.
But what makes Rupin Sharma a phenomenon is the fact that never in the history of Nagaland, has one man so galvanized the entire state. People of Nagaland, cutting across Racial, Tribal, Social, Occupational and Age Barriers have stood up to support him. When you take into consideration the fact that he is a Mainland Indian, it is astonishing. The corrupt of Nagaland tried to remove him once before, but did not succeed; now, they have put him on “Compulsory wait” and brought another, against all rules and regulations, in his place; but the fight goes on. We fight to see Rupin Sharma IPS, not only as the Director General of Nagaland Police; but as the Epitome of the ‘Perfect Officer and Gentleman’, as an example of the best that India can produce and a beacon of hope, honesty and probity to all the People of Nagaland.
Kahuto Chishi Sumi is a prominent writer and the Headman of Hevishe Village Dimapur.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. TIME8 neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)