Mizoram Govt writes letter to Centre, says,” Assam Rifles forgets AFSPA not in force here”

Published: August 27,2020 10:51 AM

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August 27, 2020: The Mizoram government has written to the Centre criticising the Assam Rifles for its behaviour and lack of cooperation with the state government

August 27, 2020: The Mizoram government has written to the Centre criticising the Assam Rifles for its behaviour and lack of cooperation with the state government, saying the force failed to recognise that Mizoram was a “peaceful state”.

Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo has written two letters to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla over the "boycott" of Independence Day celebrations and alleged violation of safety protocols by Assam Rifles, state Home DepartmentAdditional Secretary Ramdinliani told PTI on Wednesday.

In the two letters, Mizoram CS Chuaungo complained about the conduct of the Assam Rifles regarding an incident of violation of Covid screening protocol and another when the Assam Rifles had reportedly returned invitations to the Independence Day celebrations in Aizawl in disagreement over ‘Warrant of Precedent’.

Chuaungo wrote 15 men of Assam Rifles “forced their way” through the checkmate at Vairengte without mandatory Covid screening on August 18, aided by 25 personnel who had gone to Vairengte from Aizawl “to intimidate the state police and medical team on duty”. “It is, therefore, requested that the Assam Rifles be directed to stop recalcitrant behaviour and to cooperate with the state government like other Armed Forces/CAPF in the state in fighting the spread of Covid-19…” Chuaungo wrote.

In another letter, Chuaungo wrote, “…The failure to recognise, on the part of Assam Rifles, that Mizoram is a peaceful state where Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 had long been withdrawn, and insensitivity and contempt with which they deal with the civil administration is coming in the way of good relations and cooperation between Assam Rifles and the civil administration.”

"The state government has been trying its best to help and facilitate Assam Rifles in managing its COVID-19 patients. "However, the personal ego of the head of Assam Rifles in Mizoram and his failure to appreciate that the entire northeast is not a 'disturbed area' seems to have come in the way of cordial relations between Assam Rifles and state government agencies," the second letter read.

Home Minister Lalchamliana had discussed the matter with sector 23 Assam Rifles DIG, Brigadier Vinod S, on Monday. The home minister had urged the DIG to refrain from issuing press statements over "petty issues" with the state government and bring the grievances of the personnel to the notice of the administration to settle the issues on the negotiating table, a statement had said.

Brigadier Vinod, on the other hand, had said that Assam Rifles personnel respect the COVID-19 protocols of the state government despite the fact that security personnel are allowed inter-state and intra-state movement by the Centre. He had also urged the people to refrain from spreading rumours on social media and register complaints with him if any personnel breaches the law or misbehaves with locals.

On the other hand, a police complaint was registered against Assam Rifles personnel guarding the India-Myanmar border for allegedly molesting two women at Sesih village in Champhai district on Independence Day. The Central Young Mizo Association, a powerful organisation with 4.5 lakh members, has demanded an apology from Assam Rifles over the incident before the end of this month.

Assam Rifles has denied the allegation and said that it has not received any such report and complaint should be lodged with the head of the force so that the accused persons are booked. An Assam Rifles officer had said that a contingent of the force was present during the Independence Day celebrations but its senior officers had skipped the function as the DIG'srank was "degraded" in the state government WOP against the national order of precedence.