Saturday, June 19, 2021
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Guilt, Accountability and Responsibility

I ended my last article, “Viruses and the Human Immune System” on the the laws relevant to the lockdown and the penalties for violating them; because of the multiple reports of policemen beating violators of the lockdown, not only in the rest of India, but also in Nagaland. I had hoped that in Nagaland, at least, the top brass of the Nagaland Police would sensitize their troops as to how to deal with said violators. But that did not happen and the result is the brutal assault on Dr. Sezo Rote, who was exempt from lockdown order.

In this instance, the law is totally on the side of Dr. Rote and against the policemen who assaulted him. In the midst of accusations and counter-accusations of inebriation of the other party; everyone seems to have missed the fact that there is no law which authorises a policeman to assault anyone. Laws which grant policemen the right to use force, or even deadly force, do not apply in this case.

There is a fine line between guilt, accountability and responsibility. A person may be guilty of violating the law, and thus he must be held accountable for his actions, but responsibility for his actions, oftentimes, lies elsewhere. In this instance, it is my firm belief that the policemen broke the law by assaulting Dr. Rote, hence they are guilty and must be held accountable for their deeds, but the responsibility for their crime lies with the senior Police Officers; who failed in their duty by not sensitizing the policemen on how to comport themselves in this crisis.

The outcome of the Police Inquiry into the issue does not matter. All Dr. Rote has to do is file an F.I.R. against the policemen who assaulted him, and the courts will pronounce the proper verdict on the case, which will probably result in them losing their jobs. So, my humble request to the good doctor is to kindly think things over. For we Nagas are few in number, and our ordinary policemen are from humble backgrounds, with many of them being the sole breadwinners in the family.

Whether it is the Will of God or Fate, it falls on some of us to suffer for the common good. During this crisis, there have been numerous people who have been beaten on flimsy pretexts, with their pains being ignored. It is because of your status that what befell you has drawn the attention of the authorities to this gross abuse of police power. While extending my heartfelt commiserations to Dr. Sezo Rote and his family, I pray that God console you and your family members and that He grant you all the wisdom to make the right decision.

Kahuto Chishi Sumi

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