Kohima: In an apparent case of Army high-handedness, three ‘innocent’ civilians of Kohima in Nagaland were allegedly picked up by Assam Rifles (AR) jawans on Thursday afternoon.
According to Sohilo Tep, 30, who works as a lower-division assistant in the state education department, he and his two friends — Yhunsinlo Tep (29) and Chungshi Chung (32) — were looking for a parking slot at the Old NST Junction area in Kohima when armed security personnel came out from a vehicle behind their car and approached them at gun-point.
With no idea about what was happening, the three residents of Tseminyu under Kohima district reportedly cooperated with the soldiers as they began to search their car. The trio showed their identity cards to the AR personnel to prove their innocence but their efforts fell on deaf ears as they were told to remain silent.
However, in the presence of many bystanders, the jawans arrested them and with their hands tied, they were taken to the Army camp. They were detained and interrogated blindfolded for over three hours. After the AR was convinced of their innocence, they were taken to the Kohima North Police Station around 5 pm after which they were released.
Tep later took to Facebook to share his disappointment revealing that they were made to sign a two-page document, the content of which was not known to them.
Tep expressed his horror when he said that the armed soldiers had the “firing order” from their high command to shoot them if they attempted to flee/escape from the spot. However, no ill-treatment or physical torture was done against them at the time of detention. Tep affirmed that the AR has assured security if any such untoward incident happened in the future.
When contacted, an Assam Rifles PRO told EastMojo, “It was a case of mistaken identity, consequent to a repeated intelligence that the garrison Bn was receiving. But rest assured, no-ill treatment was meted out to the three. They were asked of any involvement with any of Gps [groups]. On learning that their records were clean, they were released through Kohima North police station. The documents they mentioned about is the NOC [No Objection Certificate].”
“I think the Army jawans are very professional. But this action of theirs was totally not. Such mistakes must be avoided and should never happen again. It would also be a totally different story if we had tried to run away in fear since they had the permission to shoot us at the spot,” Tep said.
While Tep and his friends bravely faced the incident, he asserted that the impact of such uncalled incidents could lead to mental trauma and disrupt one’s mental health. “The Army should not take advantage of the AFSPA and disturb normal lifestyle,” Tep added.
As he took to Facebook to share his disappointment, he said: “I posted it on social media to also send out a message to pressure the government in revoking AFSPA, especially in Nagaland”.
While Tep and his friends filed no FIR, the Tseminyu Youth Organisation has condemned the incident.