By Ling Hung Leng – The district police commander of Mindat, Chin State, called on locals to participate in enforcing the rule of law.
Police Lt-Col Ye Lwin Oo made the statement at the opening ceremony of a police station in Sontaung village on January 14. He pointed to the use of customary laws to resolve conflict, and the inability of police to speak the local dialect as challenges to implementing existing state laws.
“If a case occurs, instead of reporting it to the police station, local people use ‘aung tamang’ [traditional]methods to solve the case first,” the commander said, adding the people often drop charges with the police if the perpetrator is taken to jail. “This means police are nothing in these cases,” he said.
Police procedures require the participation of the people, he explained, emphasizing the importance of educated and multilingual youth in assisting other locals in bringing awareness of the laws and helping them take legal action.
Elders in Sontaung told Khonumthung News that they hope rule of law will be restored in the village, as well as there being a reduction in drug use and violence.
Deputy speaker of the Chin State parliament U Aung Than attended the Sontaung police station opening ceremony, about 45 miles from Mindat town. The station in the 110-household community was reportedly set up at his request.
“According to its geographical position, it’s possible Sontaung village will be [upgraded to]a town soon,” U Aung Than said. All stakeholders’ participation is really needed for Sontaung village to become a town. […] We have a plan to construct a road to Sontaung village. We already requested heavy machinery for this. We have tried to get a budget for the construction of the road to Sontaung village. Currently, it’s still impossible to distribute electricity to this village.”