Kohima: The Assam Rifles (AR), through an official statement issued by PRO Defence on Wednesday, said that the “uncorroborated and unsubstantiated allegations” made by a lady officer on alleged “harassment, physical assault and misbehaviour by Assam Rifles troops” on January 19, while returning from Moreh in Manipur’s Tengnoupal district, as “baseless, fabricated, false and malicious”.
The statement said that the lady officer, Anupam, SDPO, Yairipok, claimed that she was misbehaved at PVCP Khudengthabi by Assam Rifles troops on the pretext of routine checking on Sunday. “Assam Rifles categorically and firmly refutes the allegations leveled by the lady,” the statement read.
“At around 2 pm, a white colour TATA Sumo (registration number MN01G6243) while returning from Moreh bypassed the designated scanning lane and also jumped the vehicle queue at PVCP Khugengthabi resulting in commotion and inconvenience to other passengers. The vehicle was stopped by the AR troops and the passengers were asked for their identification which is the normal course of action at PVCP. On being inquired about the identity of the passengers and reasons for bypassing the scanning and jumping the queue, the lady along with the armed male escorts all in civil dress started arguing in an ignoble and indecorous language which is unbecoming of a uniformed soldier. This was possibly with an aim to avoid checking of the unidentified and suspicious stores loaded in the vehicle,” the statement said.
The statement went on to say that despite numerous requests by the AR, “the lady refused to divulge her identity and rather began questioning the troops who were performing their mandated duty”. “Don’t you know me?”, the officer was quoted in the statement.
It alleged that the lady officer, who was seated in the co-driver seat, began to take photographs of PVCP, which was objected by Rfn PK Pandey. “However, she persisted & continued clicking photographs which is against the laid down norms. The high headedness and colorable exercise of power displayed by the lady officer at a sensitive post of PVCP is against the ethics of any uniformed soldier. The least that could have been done by the lady is to cooperate with the Security Forces and provide the identity as asked which could have avoided such unwarranted incident as claimed by her,” it said.
It pointed that the lady police officer and her escort were moving in civil clothes with their personal weapon without any escort vehicle outside her area of jurisdiction. “A formal request to the lady officer by the Commandant, 12 Assam Rifles and Deputy Inspector General, Headquarter 26 Sector Assam Rifles to resolve the matter amicably was not responded affirmatively,” it added.
It said that to their utter surprise she demanded: “Jawanko mere samne jhukake dus joote maron tab main apology accept karungi.” The statement added that security grid along NH -102 were further strengthened due to the upcoming Republic Day, with instructions to all check-posts along NH 102 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,” it said.
It accused the lady of “blatant misuse of power” and reiterated that under no circumstances, the “dignity and pride of any individual will be bantered or unbraced”. Standing strictly against such false allegations, use of such threatening and derogatory language, it ensured that the Assam Rifles will investigate the matter and ensure that a free and fair trial is conducted on the matter raised by the lady officer.
“On detailed investigation, it has come to notice that allegedly Miss Anupam on official duty entered Myanmar illegally & bought suspicious & unidentified goods from across the border (Namphalong/ Tamu). Video footage of her entering Myanmar & subsequently loading her so called official vehicle with suspicious goods is available with Assam Rifle, which exposes her blatant lie in her complaint that she was on official duty. Can a central government servant on bonafide duty cross over to Myanmmar flaunting all FMR rules and then cover her allegations on pretext of official duty needs further investigation,” the statement said. It said that video available at PVCP will be released to media at appropriate time.
Saying that the incident happened in broad daylight (1400 hours) in front of multiple agencies, “it is unimaginable that a jawan tried to molest, physically assault or beat an IPS officer infact 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 with jawan on duty & avoiding scanning of the vehicle. It is a sheer case of misuse of official position, power & arrogance shown by the SDPO to blatantly flout the rules and possibly avoiding search of suspicious goods loaded in her vehicle &as also admonishing an Assam Rifle personnel deployed on bonafide military duty at a bonafide designated check post. Being a lady she is trying to play the sympathy card and has also approached various agencies to highlight her case,” it said.
It further clarified stating, “The PVCP at Khudhengthabi is the designated frisking and checking point just outside FMR on Moreh-Imphal axis. It has led to seizures of more than Rs 500 Crores of contrabands since Jan 2019 alone in 125 separate incidents on this axis is a clear indication of importance of the PVCP at Khudengthabi. The seizures during the year 2019 are more than the combined seizures of last 5 years on this axis by Assam Riflespersonnels and especially by PVCP to safeguard the youth of Manipur from the menace of drug abuse”.