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Questions raised as Kuki DGP not heading Manipur police force over ethnicity

By, New Delhi
May 31, 2023 10:40 AM IST

Rajiv Singh, a Tripura-cadre IPS officer who is currently the inspector general of CRPF, on Monday was moved to the Manipur cadre.

The Centre has changed the cadre of a senior police officer for three years and sent him to Manipur where he will likely take up a key role, putting the spotlight on the unusual security arrangement in the violence-hit state where the top cop is currently not heading the operational command because he belongs to one of the two warring communities.

Security personnel on a route march at Churachandpur in Manipur on Tuesday. (PTI)

Rajiv Singh, a Tripura-cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who is currently the inspector general of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), on Monday was moved to the Manipur cadre as a “special case in public interest”. The Manipur police’s operational command is currently being handled by additional director general (ADG) Ashutosh Sinha , even though the state police force is headed by his senior, director general of police (DGP) P Doungel.

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A Manipur police officer, who asked not to be named, said the state government consciously decided to let Doungel’s junior take the lead in directing police action against the two warring groups, Meiteis and Kukis, because Doungel belonged to a prominent Kuki family.

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On May 4, a day after the first clashes broke out in the state, the Manipur government issued an order and appointed Doungel’s junior, Ashutosh Sinha, a 1993 batch IPS officer, as the “operational commander” to bring normalcy in the state. The order also said that Sinha will work under the guidance of former CRPF chief Kuldiep Singh, who was appointed as the security adviser on May 4.

On Monday, the home ministry’s order appointing Singh said: “The undersigned is directed to refer to the subject cited above and to convey the approval of the appointments committee of the cabinet for inter-cadre deputation of Shri Rajiv Singh, IPS (TR:93), presently working as IG, CRPF, from Tripura cadre to Manipur cadre for a period of three years from the date of joining, in relaxation of the policy as a special case in public interest.” The ministry also directed CRPF to relieve Singh immediately. Until now, Sinha has been in charge of the state police’s response to the clashes. He is assisted by 1994 batch IPS Lupheng Kailun, ADG (law and order).

The reason Doungel, belonging to 1987 batch was not allowed to take decisions related to the operation, the officer cited above said, was because he hailed from the Kuki tribe. His father, C Doungel, a former Manipur state minister, was a prominent Kuki leader. The officer confirmed that while the DGP is on duty and attending office, he is not taking decisions related to the anti-riot operations.

“The clash in the state is between two communities. Maybe the government thought that any decision he takes will be misinterpreted by citizens, who are fighting against each other. DG sir is attending office. Even when his father passed away last week, he took only one day leave and reported for duty the following day,” a second officer at the Manipur police headquarters said. The officer added that the operational commander position could have been given to the senior-most officer after Doungel, but that position was also occupied by his younger brother, C Doungel, an IPS officer of the 1990 batch.

Doungel declined to comment. The Manipur police’s public relations officer was also not available for a comment.

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