If during the past few months you haven’t heard about the harassment of people from the Northeast in the national capital, there is a reason for it. And the reason has a name. Meet Robin Hibu, a 1993 batch IPS officer, posted as Joint Commissioner of Police who is the nodal officer for people from the region living in Delhi.
Hibu, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, handles the problems of Northeast residents in Delhi as an additional responsibility because he is also the Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime Against Women (Jt CP, CAW) and Jt. CP, IGI Airport.
Asked about how he manages the huge responsibility of helping the needy from the Northeast round-the-clock, Hibu’s eyes start twinkling. No additional funds have been earmarked for the work and yet he feels he is lucky to be performing this duty. Hibu’s peers readily recognise his extraordinary dedication to duty. The takeaway is rather simple: If you are sincere and committed no problem is impossible to solve.
People from the Northeast do feel alienated in national capital just because they look “different” and the record of discrimination they have faced from the “mainstream” has been very evident. His appointment has helped the people from the Northeast feel a definite connect and they know that whenever they are in a crisis, there is someone they can repose their trust in. “This is a definite way to address the problems of people from Jammu and Kashmir who often feel alienated in the city,” he says.
There is no hard and fast rule for the tasks Hibu has taken upon himself and tries to address them to the best of his ability. Be it looking for a house on rent, finding a cemetery, arranging for blood, ensuring good medical treatment for them or consoling victims of violence, people from the Northeast are assured that there is a man they can look up to.
“We often forget those who need our care, warmth, and support on a regular basis,” says Hibu referring to girls, women, children, and the elderly from the Northeast, who come to Delhi for a variety of reasons.
More than 12 lakh youths from the north-eastern states work in the national capital, mostly in fields like BPOs, call centres, spas, hotels, restaurants, hospitals, media houses and even as salespersons and receptionists. And then there is a huge army of students from the region who are enrolled in different universities and colleges.
The resource crunch has not deterred the IPS officer from his path. He has managed to rope in CSR funds for financing poor patients in need of emergency, trauma or regular treatment at hospitals. Hibu wrote to as many as 51 private hospitals for extending their support to the people from the Northeast as part of their CSR responsibility.
The effort has worked. “One day I received a call from Dr Naresh Trehan who said the CSR request had touched his heart. The brief chat ended in a commitment of 20% discount on all kinds of treatment for the people from the region (except govt servants) at Medanta Hospital and its associated clinics. Dr Trehan also assured me that all his ambulances would be available for the needy free of cost,” he recalls.
That was not all. Gulati X-Ray (South Delhi) and CHS Diagnostics Centre offered a 40% discount on all pathology tests for the people from the Northeast. Gulati X-Ray also agreed to provide its sample collection vans for free on Hibu’s request.
Shortage of blood is a problem that the needy often face in the city. Hibu’s worries were addressed when Professor Chatterjee and Dr Punam Kaushik of AIIMS extended a helping hand and agreed to provide the services of its blood bank without any charge.
But it was Hibu’s concern for the dead that won him the instant respect of the residents from the Northeast. One day, his control room was informed about a dead body of a young woman from the region. The woman had no one in the city who could have performed her last rites. She was a Hindu woman from Darjeeling married to a man from Haryana. Hibu collected money and performed her last rites.
Kuldip Channa, who looks after the Punjabi Bagh cremation grounds, was in tears after he came to know about Hibu’s dedication for performing the last rites of unclaimed bodies of resident from the north-eastern region.
After he took 14 unclaimed bodies of Hindus from the region for funeral, he appealed to the authorities at the various crematoriums and graveyards for help. The response was fast to come and the officer got the last rites of 20 dead bodies performed at the Dwarka crematorium without any cost. The good work was recognised by the Union Home Ministry as well and in July this year, MHA sanctioned Rs 5 lakh to Hibu for performing the last rites of unclaimed bodies.
The officer, presumably the first from Arunachal Pradesh to join the IPS, has a large number of followers on his Facebook page. In September this year, he started ‘Helping Hand’, an NGO which has hundreds of lawyers, chartered accountants and officers from various services as members and supporters. Hibu also took to WhatApp in a major way and groups like Crime Victim Group, Students Leader Group and SOS Group are fully devoted to serving the people from the Northeast.
Hibu’s initiatives resulted into the creation of Delhi Police Representative for North Eastern Region (DPRNER), which serves as the ambassador of Delhi Police for Northeast. Under DPRNER, 66 representatives from 11 districts have been selected from various walks of life.
The officer has a word of special appreciation for Prime Minister Narendra Modi for focusing the government’s attention on the North East region. Delhi Police also conducted a special drive and recruited 450 persons from the north-eastern regions into its ranks. The Ministry of Urban Development has also allotted 1.22 hectare of land for a Special Police Unit for the people from Northeast. Union Minister for Social Justice Maneka Gandhi has sanctioned Rs 24 crore for the construction of the Special Police Unit.
Hibu, a recipient of President of India Police Medal for Meritorious Service in 2010, was also awarded a Gold Medal by the Arunachal Pradesh Government on two occasions. He has also been awarded the United Nations Peace Medal for service in Kosovo (2000) and Bosnia (1999).
(By Rakesh Ranjan, Editor-in-chief)