Guwahati: Assam Rifles (AR) – the oldest paramilitary force guarding the India-Myanmar border in Manipur is in news for all the wrong reasons. A day after Assam Rifles refuted allegations by an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of "physical assault, molestation, harassment and abuse" by 12 AR personnel at Khudengthabi check post along Imphal-Moreh highway in Tengnoupal district, the IPS officer posted as SDPO Yairipok said that she has "full faith in the SIT (Special Investigation Team) investigating the case."
"The case is under investigation, an SIT is investigating it, in which I have full faith. I prefer to refrain from making comments as the matter is sub judice," the woman officer said. A written complaint was lodged by the officer at the Tengnoupal police station on 19 January against an Assam Rifles jawan on frisking duty at the check post.
In an official statement released on Tuesday, the Assam Rifles stated that "the incident happened in broad daylight (two in the afternoon) in front of multiple agencies. It is unimaginable that a jawan tried to molest, physically assault or beat an IPS officer."
"In fact, it was other way round wherein she was shouting on a jawan who was on bonafide duty, and her four escorts trying to force their way through by creating commotion, and avoiding scanning of the vehicle. It is a sheer case of misuse of official position, power and arrogance shown by the SDPO to blatantly flout the rules, and possibly avoid search of suspicious goods loaded in her vehicle," the AR further clarified, terming the officer’s allegations as "baseless, fabricated, false and malicious"
The SDPO in her complaint had stated that despite offering a "self-search and vehicle search", the AR jawan "was not interested in it, and started physically assaulting and molesting" her. The complaint also mentioned that the jawan was "thrashing, beating, pushing" her escort personnel when they tried to intervene. Further, the IPS officer stated that the Assam Rifles jawan even "tried to slap her", but was stopped by her escort personnel.
Assam Rifles dismissed the allegations as "fallacious and misguided", adding that the officer "refused to cooperate with the security forces", and was moving with her escort "in civil clothes with their personal weapon, without any escort vehicle outside her area of jurisdiction."
“The security grid along NH 102 has been further strengthened due to the upcoming Republic Day with instructions to all check posts along the highway to be on extra vigil and high alert. It is pertinent to mention that move of such vehicles with occupants in civil dress with weapons in Counter Insurgency area, and without prior intimation to other security agencies has serious operational ramifications,” the Assam Rifles stated, adding that “under no circumstances, the dignity and pride of any individual will be bantered or unbraced”.
The Assam Rifles PRO said that on detailed investigation, it was found that the lady officer "on official duty entered Myanmar illegally, and bought suspicious and unidentified goods from across the border (Namphalong/Tamu)." The official statement said that an investigation is required to ascertain how "a central government servant on bonafide duty can cross over to Myanmar, flaunting all Free Movement Regime (FMR) rules, and then cover her allegations on pretext of official duty.”
According to the official report, Assam Rifles had made the highest seizure of more than Rs 500 crore contraband in 2019 from the Permanent Vehicle Check Point (PVCP) in Khudengthabi.
"The seizures during the year 2019 are more than the combined seizures of last 5 years from Moreh-Imphal axis by Assam Rifles personnel, and especially by PVCP to safeguard the youth of Manipur from the menace of drug abuse," it stated.
The paramilitary force mentioned that evidence has been gathered in the form of a video footage of the lady officer entering Myanmar and loading her vehicle with “suspicious goods”. However, Assam Rifles did not elaborate further on what “suspicious goods” could be in this case.
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Updated Date: Jan 23, 2020 11:16:46 IST