Amid fresh wave of ethnic violence in Manipur, the central government has prematurely repatriated IPS Rakesh Balwal to Manipur.
Balwal, who cracked the Pulwama terror attack case, has been serving as the Srinagar senior superintendent of Police since December.
In Manipur situation has gone out of control. Mob of 500-600 tried to storm to chief minister Biren Singh's ancestral home.
Balwal known to have expertise in handling terrorism-related cases is likely to help stem fresh wave of violence. Earlier the state government had hired a retired army personnel Colonel Nectar Sanjenbam (Retd) as senior superintendent of a police to improve the situation. Sanjebam was credited to have conducted surgical strike to destroy terrorist camps near Myanmar. It's not all. Vineet Joshi, 1992 batch IAS officer, who was on central deputation, was also repatriated to Manipur in between to take charge of chief secretary in May, 2023. He replaced Rajesh Kumar. As a rough estimated, centre has deputed around 40 senior officials to Manipur to douse the fire so far.
Balwal, a native of Udhampur, is a 2012-batch officer of the Manipur cadre who was transferred to AGMUT (Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram and Union Territories) for three years in 2021, after the policy for the inter-cadre transfer of officers was relaxed. ”
Experienced hand in handling terror
Balwal had served as the superintendent of police with National Investigation Agency (NIA) which probed the Pulwama terror attack claiming lives of 40 CRPF personnel. It was sheer cop's sixth sense which helped in cracking the case for Balwal. There were not many clues in the case. The investigating team led by Balwal got just a mobile phone seized from the suicide bomber. Balwal sent that phone for testing, which produced photographs that helped solve the case.
For this investigation Balwal received Union Home Minister's Medal for Excellence in Investigation' in 2021.
At present, Balwal, while working as SSP Srinagar has ensured that no cases of targeted killing is there. He was brought to Srinagar when the law and order situation had deteriorated in the district and there were targeted killings of non-local residents. But he proactively interacted with local people and identified vulnerable population and gave them security to curb further killings.
Balwal is also credited to have deescalated the divide among religious groups and was instrumental in successfully hosting the G-20 Tourism working groups meeting in Srinagar.
As for transfer to Manipur, Balwal is equipped with all skill sets and courage to deal with deteriorating law and order situation. His previous experience of working as superintendent of Manipur's Churachandpur, where violence has erupted in May, will come handy in restoring the situation to normalcy.
Alok Mathur is a law graduate. Journalism is his first love which he now pursues in the latter half of his career. Controversies and crime are the right triggers for him.