The need for greater sensitivity is emphasised in any discussion on improving the functioning of the police, but the cops tend to remain as boorish as ever. The top brass of the Central Industrial Security Force has obviously failed in imparting the requisite training to its personnel deployed on duties that call for more than wielding the big stick. Students from the Central Agricultural University in Imphal will return to the North-east with enhanced feelings of the alienation that is so widely evident in that neglected part of the nation. They had a difficult time entering the Taj Mahal because the CISF personnel there contended that they were foreigners attempting to enter the monument on the lower charges levied on Indian nationals: production of their institutional identity cards did not convince the CISF. A complaint to the Archaeological Survey of India, followed up by a report to the local police became necessary for them to visit the tourist attraction. The “incident” cannot be written off as an “aberration”, it points to an ingrained bias of most policemen against people who “look different” from those hailing from the so-called mainland. The students are likely to perceive their nationality being questioned as confirmation of the discrimination and ill-treatment of students in Delhi hailing from the North-east, their women being shamelessly targeted by predatory “goons”, and their being exploited by unscrupulous landlords who have caused them to live in virtual ghettos in a desperate bid at self-preservation. The recruitment of some personnel from the region to the police has had only token impact. The most insulting reality being that their fellow students refer to them as “Chinky”. The CISF is now entrusted with more than the physical protection of public sector undertakings ~ its original mandate. Airport security and similar duties on the Delhi Metro are part of the operations conducted by the force. Alas, the “one size fits all” theory has not worked. There is need for specialised training: the staff “manning” airports has need to conduct themselves differently from those protecting industrial units, so too the cops at the Taj Mahal, etc., have to help tourists rather than “police” them. Even the CISF’s policing philosophy raises queries. It has recently permitted women using the Delhi Metro to carry small knives for self-protection ~ does it recommend those knives being wielded against pick-pockets (the majority of whom have been found to be women), eve-teasers, etc? Has the probability of retaliatory violence been ignored? Yet all those inadequacies pale into insignificance in comparison with what took place at the Taj, for the outcome could have grave implications. A young mind troubled by perceived discrimination can stray into dangerous territory. The CISF leadership must understand that.