(An old article written in 2018)
KEYWORDS: Sacrifice, Insurgents, duty, fight, death, people, community, society, Family.
ABSTRACT: The police are required to perform numerous jobs with anonymity and mostly in an anonymous manner. They are the backbone of a civilization. A lot of sacrifices have to be made by them to keep the society move forward. One of the most peaceful states in India, Mizoram has endured insurgency periods in the course of its history. MNF insurgency (1966-1986) covered the whole of Mizoram, HPC (1989-1994), HPC D (1994-2018), BNLF (1997-2005) – covered only a specific portion of Mizoram. Largely due to the efforts of Mizoram Police Force, the society endures and returns to normalcy. 56 personnel of Mizoram Police had lost their lives and lots of the policemen suffered horrific physical and mental injuries in the line of duties. The sacrifices they made, their sweats, their bloods and their hard works ensured that the people of Mizoram live in an enduring peace.
Introduction: According to National Police Commission set up by the Government of India in 1977, the followings are the duties and responsibilities of the police:
i) To promote and preserve public order
ii) Investigate crimes
iii) Identify problems and situations that are likely lead to crimes;
iv) Reduce the opportunities for the commission of crimes through preventive patrol and other police measures;
v) Aid and cooperate with other relevant agencies in implementing appropriate measures for prevention of crimes;
vi) Aid individuals who are in danger of physical harm;
vii) Create and maintain a feeling of security in the community;
viii) Facilitate orderly movement of people and vehicles;
ix) Counsel and resolve conflicts and promote amity;
x) Provide other appropriate services and provide relief to people in distress; and
xi) Collect intelligence reports relating to matters affecting public peace and crimes in general including social and economic offences, national integrity and security.
In order to fulfill the duties delineate by the laws and expected by the people, the police personnel have to sacrifice a lot. They are the first line of defense against internal threats. Being in a police force requires sacrifices of their family lives, leisure time and even the ultimate price that is their life.
The supreme sacrifices of the police largely goes unnoticed due to continued indifference on part of the polity, media, society and other established institutions that cannot do without the police, and yet they don’t remember the police as it has been taken for that cops will selflessly continue to serve all institutions despite the non-recognition of the force to meet the expectations of one and all.
Such indifference and the functioning of the police today calls for a closer look at the state of affairs existing with the police force in India. Most unfortunately, the police have not got its due even though it is embedded in every segment of the country. It is a neglected lot and dismissed as corrupt, inefficient and not people-friendly. Such allegations could be partially true but arguably, we have not seen any visible and genuine attempts by the detractors and critics of the police to improve its image. None whatsoever!
This will be an attempt to honour and commemorate the sacrifices made by Police in the line of duty with particular references to the Mizoram Police.
Mizoram is a mountainous state nestling in the southern tip of the north-east region of India. Covered with verdant forests dominated by thick bamboo groves, teeming with vibrant wildlife, sheer cliffs and breath-taking waterfalls, dotted with unique landmarks of myriad folklores and picturesque villages of houses built on stilts, a land of dramatic seas of morning mists that enfold islands of hills and peaks, this is the land of the Highlanders, or the Mizo.
Standing aloof from the adjacent plains of Assam and the other neighboring states, Mizoram remains an exotic location sharing more than one-third of its boundary with Bangladesh and Myanmar and its capital, Aizawl is still one of the least-frequented cities in India. With a population of 1,091,014 only, it is one of the most sparsely-populated states. Mizoram has a moderate and pleasant climate throughout the year, and is an idyllic land of great natural beauty having rich variety of flora and fauna.
One of the most peaceful states
in India, the state of Mizoram experiences Insurgency three times. The First
one starts from 1966 and ended in 1986, it affects the whole of Mizoram. Mizo
national Front took up arms in 1966 and laid down their arms on 30th
At the conclusion of Mizoram Peace Accord in 1986, Hmar People Convention was immediately started as the Hmar community was unhappy with the terms and conditions of the accord citing that there was nothing in store. For the first three years of its existence, demands were made by non-violent methods, and realizing that its resultant effects were not matching their demands. Hence, the HPC takes up arms on May 16, 1989 and a peace deal was brokered on July 27, 1994 resulting in the creation of SHDC (Sinlung Hills Development Council).
A faction of HPC, who were unhappy with the peace deal brokered in 1994 between the state of Mizoram and the HPC, started HPC (D) continued to engage in arms conflict with the State of Mizoram. A peace treaty was signed on 2018 ending all the insurgent activities in the states of Mizoram.
Besides the above insurgents activities by MNF, HPC, HPC(D), a bru insurgent group known as BNLF were active from 1997-2015.
The HPC, HPC D and BNLF militant activities covered only a specific region and small parts of Mizoram. The HPC, HPC D, and BNLF demanded an autonomous district.
History of Mizoram Police:
The History of Mizoram Police can be divided into three periods
- The British Period (1890-1947): Modern System of policing was introduced to the Mizo’s after the British Government took over the Lushai Hills way back in the year 1890. The first Police Station was established in Aizawl in 1895. The Civilian Police was started on 1899. It was initially manned by 2 Sub inspectors and other ranks of 49 persons.
- As a Mizo District in Assam (1947-1972): In 1947, six (6) Police Stations sanctioned at Aizawl, Lunglei, Saiha, Kolasib, Champhai and Tlabung. The First Superintendent of Police was posted in 1960. A small CID Cell was started under the supervision of Dy. SP.
- As an independent Police Force (1972- ) Mizoram became union territory on 21.01.1972. Thus, Mizoram Police was born. I.J. Verma was the first IGP of Mizoram. 1st Battalion Mizoram Armed Police established in 1973. In 1986 Mizoram Attained Statehood, re-organization and up-gradation of Mizoram Police was done. In 1998: Forensic Science Laboratory established. Mizoram Police has its own Police Act 92011), its own manual- Mizoram Police Manual-2005 and Mizoram Police Special Branch Manual.
Sacrifices made by Police personnel
In the course of History of Mizoram Police, 56 Police personnel have laid down their lives in the line of duty. From Constable to IGP, they earned glory with their lives.
Mizoram insurgency starts on 1.3.1966. The first Policeman who lost his life was SI Laldochhunga who was posted at CID (SB) on 25.3.1966, just 24 days after the starts of the insurgency. SI Zoramthara Khawlhring, Constable Hmangaihmawia and Driver C. Lalchuailova were the last ones to lose their lives in the line of duty. It was on March, 2015 while escorting Assurance Committee, Mizoram Legislative assembly; HPC (D) Militants ambushed them near Zokhawthiang Village. These three braves lost their lives in that ambushed.
It can spefically be stated that 56 Policemen lost their lives in the struggle against 4 insurgent groups such as MNF, HPC, HPC (D) and BNLF. Apart from the army’s help during the MNF insurgency period, against all the other insurgent groups such as HPC, HPC (D) and BNLF, the Mizoram Police Force fought alone. 56 of the laid down their lives and several others were injured. As result of the sacrifices made by the members of Mizoram Police Force, 15 President’s Police Medal for gallantry and 41 Police Medal for gallantry had been earned.
The most significant and high profile martyrdom by the Mizoram Police Personnel must have been the death of G.S. Arya, IPS, IGP Mizoram, K. Panchapagesan, IPS and L.B. Sewa, IPS. On 13.1.1975, G.S. Arya along with K. Panchapagesan and L.B. Sewa were having an important meeting in the office chamber of Gs Arya, IGP Mizoram. It was at the height of Insurgency of MNF. MNF militants namely SS Capt. Lalhleia, SS Capt Thangrehlova, SS Capt. Kapkima, SS corp. K. Zoramthanga and SS Pvt. C. Lalhmachhuana, attempt an abduction of the three officers. A fight ensued between the parties which led to the death of the three top officers of Mizoram Police. Their deaths in a way change the course of the insurgency and resulting in the gradual weakening of the MNF militant groups.
15 personnel of Mizoram Police lost their lives during the MNF insurgency and were decorated with 1 President Police medal for gallantry, 3 Police Medal for Gallantry.
During the active period of HPC as an insurgent group, 6 members of Mizoram Police laid down their lives in defense of the life, liberty and property of the people and two of them earned President’s Police Medal for gallantry, posthumously.
At the peak of Naxalite-Maoists insurgency, 2nd IR Mizo Battalion was deployed in Chhattisgarh for counter insurgency Operation from 2006-2008. During their two years deployment in the naxal affected areas, 10 of the personnel of 2nd IR Mizo battalion lost their lives. Since, 20.07.2009, 3rd IR Mizo Battalion has been deployed at Assam for Counter Insurgency Operations, and there has been no casualty in the fight against insurgents in Assam.
8 policemen lost their lives in the struggle against HPC (D) (1994-2018). 7 Police personnel were killed in the fight against BNLF (1997-2005).
I shall mention the incidents leading to the death of L/Nk P.C. Vanlalpeka as it falls the category of cross-border terrorism. A Myanmar outfit, Chin national Army (CNA) enters the eastern part of Mizoram in the year 1996 and starts activities like extortion, Kidnapping, Murder, etc. A Mizoram Police Counter-insurgency operation team consisting of 12 (twelve) personnel including L/Nk P.C. Vanlalpeka was sent to launch an offensive and preventive operation in areas covering Champhai town and its satellite villages. On 4th August, 1996, an attempt was made by Peka’s team to rescue the hostage in the jungles of Champhai. The hostages were kept inside a hut in the middle of the forest. The police team attempts a rescue mission resulting in the fire fight between Mizoram Police Operation team and the CNA militants. Peka was shot at his forehead around 9:30 PM and died there.
Some of the personnel of Mizoram police lost their lives in the fight PLA (Manipur Outfit) as well. Besides the loss of life, there are many policemen severely injured not only in the fight against the Insurgents, but during different moments in the day to day life.
The death of these 56 Policemen that were once part of Mizoram Police Force, who were killed in the line of duty, are reminders that police take great risks every day to keep our communities safe and are willing to sacrifice their life for those they serve.
Mizoram mostly being peaceful, the loss of life by the members of Mizoram Police is quite low as compared to Police force in other states of India. That does not mean that, no other sacrifices were made. The loss of life in the line of duty occurs during the period of Insurgencies. But the peace time sacrifices made by the Policemen were not in any way lesser. Their hard work, dedication, and sacrifices made possible peaceful atmosphere of Mizoram as it is today.
Despite the chronic attitude of many and their skeptical view of the Police, the Mizoram police strive to maintain its duty as the Law requires it and as the people needs and deserved.
The sacrifices of the policemen may not be fully recognized by the people. It may not even be acknowledged even by those who directly benefitted through that sacrifice, the police keep standing on the ground for Duty, Honour and honour alone.
The words of Dr. Andrew L. Tang, trauma medical director for Banner-University Medical Center, rang in my mind while researching the story of the 56 policemen of Mizoram who died on the line of duty and let me quote it for the 56, for the survivors and for those who made sacrifice in the peace time, “In every society there are the givers and takers and those who sacrifice. Communities are built on the shoulders of those who sacrifice”. The Police lend strong shoulders upon which the Mizo society is built.
- 47th Raising Day souvenir (2018): Mizoram Police
- Lalsangzuala, J. (2010). Mizoram, the Land of Char, Zokhumi b-50 Mission veng.
- Chawngkunga, C. (1998). Important documents of Mizoram. Art and Culture Department, Aizawl.
(for Indian Police Journal, December 2018)