IMPHAL: The Manipur government and the central paramilitary Assam Rifles, which operates under the command of the Indian Army, are at loggerheads over the guarding of check posts along highways following the alleged harassment of a woman IPS officer by an Assam Rifles jawan.
While the Assam Rifles, the oldest paramilitary force guarding the India-Myanmar border, has strongly refuted the allegations of a woman Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of "physical assault, molestation, harassment and abuse" by the paramilitary troopers, the Manipur government has approached the Union Home Ministry to deploy state forces in place of Assam Rifles troopers at all check-posts set up along the highways in the northeastern state.
"As the state government and the Assam Rifles are separately probing the allegations of the woman IPS officer, we would wait until the outcome of the inquiries. We would not make any further statement on the sensitive issue," a defence spokesman told IANS over phone on Sunday.
Manipur government spokesman and Education Minister Th. Radheshyam told the media that Manipur government has decided to hand over the security of all check posts along the highways in the state to the police as these are currently being manned by the Assam Rifles troopers.
The minister said that the state government after reviewing the situation has felt that the Central Reserve Police Force troopers can also be posted in the check posts if additional forces were required to man these check gates.
Following the complaint of the woman IPS officer, police had registered an FIR at the Tengnoupal police station against an Assam Rifle for "allegedly physically assaulting and molesting the police officer at Khudengthabi check post while she was returning from the India-Myanmar border post on January 19. The woman IPS officer is posted as Sub-Divisional Police Officer at Yairipok town in Thoubal district.
Chief Minister N. Biren Singh had said that the state government would take appropriate actions over the issue. The Manipur women commission had also issued summons to the accused Assam Rifles rifleman to appear before it on or before Monday. The commission has also forwarded the IPS officer's complaint to the National Commission for Women for taking action.
The Assam Rifles in a separate statement had termed the woman IPS officer's allegations as "baseless, fabricated and malicious" and accused her of illegally entering neighbouring Myanmar (Namphalong-Tamu) and purchasing various goods from the border market there.
"The incident happened in broad daylight (2 pm) in front of multiple agencies. It is unimaginable that a jawan tried to molest, physically assault or beat an IPS officer," the official Assam Rifle statement said.
It said "In fact, it was the other way round wherein the woman police officer was shouting at a jawan who was on bona fide duty, and her four escorts tried to force their way through by creating a 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."
Manipur has shares a 400 km border with Myanmar and the Assam Rifles guard the India-Myanmar frontier and are also posted in different parts of Manipur.