You can make anything by writing – CS Lewis
Here is a policeman Robin Hibu who is on a mission to make fellow countrymen from North-East feel at home in their own country’s capital. Strange but the truth of the diverse and rich heritage country which we are proud of – India!
He was given the choice to be in Indian Foreign Service however he opted to be a police officer. “I didn’t want to become symbolically PRO for the country but in uniform I believed and confirm that you can bring changes from the grass root level,” says Robin Hibu the first IPS officer from Arunachal Pradesh and who is right now posted with Delhi Police. “It didn’t just happen like that! I was very sure what I wanted to do, right from the day one in the jungles of Arunachal in the Mahatma Gandhi Sewa Ashram School call Kasturba Vidyalaya. I was full of patriotism inspired by the people who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the country.”
A glance at his qualifications and indeed it is quite impressing. It seems ‘First Class’ was just a normal thing for him. Starting from High School, Graduation (History), Police Management (MPM), and Masters (Sociology) from Jawaharlal Nehru University Delhi are all with first class. Earlier he has rendered his service as Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner with Delhi Police, District Superintendent of Police and Inspector General of Police in Arunachal Pradesh and as Deputy Inspector General of Police of Eastern Range. And right now he is the Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police/Inspector General of Police at Special Police Unit for Women & Children, Nanakpura, Delhi. On top of that he is the Nodal Officer for North East People with Delhi Police.
Looking back to the first day when he arrived in the capital city, “I was coming in Brahmaputra Mail with a valid ticket, on the way 12-13 men boarded the train and started calling me names and told me to sit in a corner. For a moment I thought to retaliate but looking at the number I didn’t. It was a painful experience as I had to travel all the way from Mughal Sarai to Delhi seated near wash-room. After that at the station I asked a policeman for direction to Chanakyapuri but instead he called me a name and shouted to ask somebody else.” Not a good way to start a new chapter in one’s life but this was not the end but just the beginning. “Then after that in the college, with postman who won’t deliver things just like that, shopkeepers charging more, for accommodation and what not. Every step somebody does it knowingly and some in ignorance but we are the one who always suffers.” We might think that now he being in the uniform and in better position things must have been better. “Even now I wonder when and what they may ask me because the fact is they are not aware of the North-East states. That’s why I carry along with me a small India map and ask people pointing to the North-East, “Do you know which part of the country it is?””
Before you say it, Robin Hibu knows what is in your mind, “Many a times I have been told by my seniors and main-landers that why so much hue and cries we also face this problem when we go to some other states. I try to make them understand the vulnerability, you will be taunted and made fun, but you won’t be asked where you are from or prove that you are an Indian. Our youths are left to defend themselves there is nothing they can fall back to. Look at the Bangalore exodus of North-easterners in the recent past. There was no one! It was painful I couldn’t do anything but ask my fellow officers to do something.” Despite the fact that things were not going good, like a true soldier which he was destined to be, he never give up. “I was very clear when I came to Delhi that I am here to study, for competition, to give 110%, I am here to make the difference. Whatever the provocation or humiliation I faced, I took it on positive stride and got motivated to work harder that tomorrow I will stand up, become something and tell that we are also Indian.” And this is how his crusade began.
“I think we need to take a holistic approach to the problem through culture exchange, tourism, communication, exposure in education like something about North-East in the syllabus of CBSE and NCERT. Here media also has to play a vital role; they hardly cover this part of the country. Above all, here the government needs to understand why people are coming out to strange lands for petty sum of money. I wish we could have more industries, good educational institutions, hospitals, good roads, and communication so that our boys can flourish at their own home.” And Robin Hibu is not just saying it but leading from the front. He is one of the front runners to start the North East Helpline 1093 and making it successful. “We have left no stone unturned, there is Standing Order Procedure (SOP), how to deal with the northeasterners which is first of its kind all over India. Now there has been an increase in the awareness with the start of 1093. Like from February to October 2014 we have got 840 calls out of which we have registered 180 cases, 96 are crime against women and 18 cases related to racial discrimination. In comparison to last year where there was only 74 cases and in 2012 there were 48 cases. So there is almost 200% jump and the reason is awareness!” says the proud guardian of law.
Understanding the need of the hour, Robin Hibu is also very active in social networking sites and has many Whatsapp groups which keep him updated 24×7 with the situation. “We created a Facebook page on 10th May 2014 and by the end of October we have 10, 2000 members registered and I have 11 Whatsapp group. Anything happens anywhere, just upload it and whoever is near the victim they go to spot to assist them.” He has started a group of representatives from the North-East states who are trained under him and will work as ambassadors of their respective states. “They act as Crisis Manager Interventionist at the crime situation and Hindi interpreters, as many times the problems start with the language barrier. And mind you all these activities are purely on voluntary basis.” Also there will be special recruitment of the Northeasterners in Delhi Police, Police officials going exposure-trip to the North-East states, training volunteers with VIMHANS, Delhi University and even with TISS to counsel crime victims. On the ground zero there are efforts to bridge the gaps between the locals and the North-easterners. “Whenever there is Resident Welfare Association meeting, the North-East representatives are also invited. Whatever it is we try to sort out in that level. Earlier there was hardly any osmosis or interaction between them. Now we are organizing events like the North East festival from 7th to 10th November and other activities like football match or inviting one another in their religious festivals.”
This cop is not just taking care of the problem but want to get rid of it once for all. “See we need to accept that there is cancer and try to overcome it from within, putting bandages above won’t help. We need to have a stronger and clear cut law against racial discrimination. Our IPC 153 does not mention about the racial slurs and all. I am not just talking about the North-easterners but it can be anybody going to any part of the country like north-Indians in Maharashtra. I am also member of Home Affairs Committee for North-East people under the chairmanship of MP Bezbaruah. There are voluminous recommendations which if passed will be a mile stone.” Looking at the improvement, slow but steady, he seems to be quite content. “I got a massive response and now people are asking why only Delhi but we can also try out this experiment in other parts of the country as well. By the way people who are not from North-East but have Mongoloid features like people from Darjeeling and Himachal Pradesh are also quite happy as they face the same problem,” candidly he adds. Happy but sad also as he shares, “Things look quite pretty right now but I wonder what will happen or will the progress stop because now I can be transferred anytime.” A real trait of a true leader!
Other than his job and social activities, Robin Hibu is a father of two daughters and a son, a vivid badminton player and speaks very good Hindi and Punjabi also. “I have not gone to holiday for the last six years but whenever I get free time I like to read and go to some place near nature as I love nature. I love badminton, look at me I am still fit whereas most of my batch mates are with paunch.” And lastly on the signing note, “Yes, I believe in spirituality and I always tell in public forums and gathering whichever god you believe in, before doing anything – apne adma se puchho, apne ram se puchho (ask your inner conscience and your god). And if you are happy then there is nothing you can’t achieve in your life.”