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In Manipur, a fresh challenge for police: Scores of zero FIRs

time: 2023-12-01 02:11:51laiyuan:toutiaovits: 5

Hundreds of zero FIRs registered in police stations across Manipur and the stalled investigations in these cases are amongkey challengesthe state police is facing, senior officers have told The Indian Express.

In Manipur, a fresh challenge for police: Scores of zero FIRs

A zero FIRcan be filed at any police station by a complainant, regardless of their place of residence or location of occurrence of the crime. Afterwards, it is transferred to the relevant police station for investigation. The objective is to aid victims in getting a complaint registered without running from pillar to post.

In Manipur, a fresh challenge for police: Scores of zero FIRs

In a state which has seen nearly three months of violence and where more than 50,000 people have been displaced, the zero FIR has acquired a new scale. It recently came to light that a zero FIR — in the case of three Kuki-Zomi women being stripped and sexually assaulted in Meitei-dominated Thoubal district — was transferred to the relevant police station more than a month later. Similarly, a zero FIR into the murder and alleged rape of two young Kuki-Zomi women in Imphal was registered in the same police station, Saikul, on May 16 and transferred a month later.

In Manipur, a fresh challenge for police: Scores of zero FIRs

These are two out of 202 zero FIRs which have been registered at Saikul police station since the start of the violence, The Indian Express has learnt. Since Saikul is a foothill area bordering Meitei-dominated areas, an official at Saikul police station said that most of the zero FIRs are for alleged offences within a 20 km radius of the police station, in the jurisdictions of police stations such as Sagolmang, Yainganpokpi and Thoubal Dam in Imphal East district.

“These are mostly in cases where there has been violence in Kuki-dominated areas, but since it’s a border area, they come under the jurisdiction of a valley police station. Because Kukis can’t go to the valley, they have registered zero FIRs here instead,” a senior officer said, adding that all the cases have been transferred to the relevant police stations.

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However, the numbers in Saikul are far lower than in some other police stations. In Churachandpur police station, for instance, more than 1,700 zero FIRs have been registered. In Kangpokpi police station, more than 800 such FIRs have been registered, largely for offences in different parts of Imphal. In the same way, an official at the police station said, 83 cases have been transferred to it after zero FIRs were registered in the valley. These, he said, are mostly complaints of arson registered by Meitei people who lived in Kangpokpi town and have been displaced.


A peculiar challenge

With fault lines in the state running deep, just transferring cases to relevant police stations has been a challenge. Like the recent case of two women being stripped and paraded shows, this is proving to be a major obstacle in victims getting justice.

A senior official said that investigating cases of such transferred FIRs is a challenging process, exacerbated by tensions in the state.


“Because of the situation, even police personnel from one community cannot go to another community’s area. So they cannot go to the complainant. The only way the concerned IO of a transferred case can be in touch with the victim is by calling them over the phone. Here too, in a transferred case, at the most we can go to the site and check the burned property,” he said.

Police stations in areas with a large number of relief camps have a large number of zero FIRs: in Moirang police station in Meitei-dominated Bishnupur, close to the border with Churachandpur district, 1,257 zero FIRs have been received. According to an official at the station, these are primarily complaints by displaced people who have been living in the camps, and have been transferred largely to police stations in Churachandpur districts. In turn, it has had around 80 cases from Churachandpur transferred to it.

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“Thousands of zero FIRs have been registered across the state,” said a senior Manipur police officer, adding, “Systems are not in place in the state right now. The divide in the society is deep and the police are not outside of this.”


“It’s hard to proceed with the investigation without meeting the victim. You can speak of the phone, but that doesn’t give a clear enough picture. It’s an unusual situation,” said the officer.

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But the larger issue, the officer said, is that police in the state have not even got on with the process of investigating the more than 6,000 FIRs. Since police and other security personnel failed to contain the situation early, the officer said, police personnel are still “fire-fighting” — “handling crowds, arson, marches, rallies, gunfights, giving protection for farming”.

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