There is a decline of militancy-related incidents in the past few months in Meghalaya. A lot of groups in Garo Hills, the present hotbed of militancy in North-east, have disbanded and the cadres resolved to join mainstream. The police must have played a great role in all of this. Full credit goes to the state director general of police (DGP) Rajiv Mehta. He must be instrumental in many of these groups coming over ground. But does it justify extension of his service for another three months, as desperately wanted by chief minister Mukul Sangma and his government? Does Mukul Sangma’s anguish against the Centre, which rejected his proposal, has any strong ground or there is something beyond what meets the eye?

Chief minister Mukul Sangma was so much upset over the PMO holding Mehta’s file that he went on to accuse the Centre of being interested only in playing politics (in Meghalaya?), and does not want to solve militancy. The strong reaction can have two possibilities. One is the obvious reason that Mukul did not want to lose the DGP at this crucial juncture when militancy is on a decline in his home turf. And the second possibility might be Mukul wanted his ‘close confident’ to complete some unfinished task where he might have personal interest, in the next three months. Mukul also did not make it clear as to what kind of politics the Centre wanted to play in this regard.

Although leadership has a definite role in bringing changes, the team in the process has a great role to play. It is not the DGP alone, but a lot of his subordinates have been playing key roles in the fight against insurgency. Some of them, by experience and quality, deserve to take the lead as well. Besides, there is hardly any precedence of any DGP getting service extension in the same post. At this juncture, extending the service of Mehta would have carried a wrong message to the next in line. It would have posed a question on their credibility to carry on the fight from the point it was left by Mehta. By showing his desperation, the chief minister already passed on this message. Mukul better correct his impression and take into confidence what he has in hand now.

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on July 2, 2016)

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