AR unit riles SHDDC, KSO flays assault
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, September 10 2011:
Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee (SHDDC) has lodged complaint with the GOC 57 Mountain Brigade over the (mis)conduct of 43 Assam Rifles.
In the complaint, SHDDC president Ngamkhohao Haokip and general secretary Tonghen Kipgen pointed out that since August 1, 2011, SHDCC has been spearheading a public movement to pressurise the Government of Manipur to meet 'our rightful demand' of a full-fledged districthood to Sadar hills which has been pending for the last 39 years.
However, Commanding Officer of 43 Assam Rifles and two of his subordinates, Major Anish Kutoch of Kangpokpi post and Major Bhavish of Motbung post, and two other jawans have been interfering in the local issue in an unjustified manner.
They have been forcibly bringing loaded civil trucks on the pretext of being ASC/AHT.
In the first instance, a truck ferrying Sandalwood was claimed by the said officers as belonging to Army supply.
The said truck had been burnt down by the agitated public.
In subsequent instances, many vehicles claimed to have been carrying Army supply were found to be loaded with Betel leaves, fermented fish, two wheelers and other items which are not at all related to Army supply, SHDDC maintained, adding that it has been learnt from the drivers that the said AR officers accepted a bribe of Rs 20,000 per vehicle for safe passage.
Moreover, the Assam Rifles officers in question used rifles and sticks to beat up women agitators, causing injuries to more than 70 women so far on several occasions.
They also molested young women, abused them and threw them down the gorges.
They also threatened women agitators with dire consequences after the agitation, SHDDC further alleged.
While negotiating with the chiefs of Motbung area on August 31 at Gamgiphai village, the CO promised to transfer the two accused Majors but nothing has been done till date, SHDCC lamented, while praying that the GOC take immediate necessary action against unruly AR officers.
Meanwhile, condemning the incident in which 52 people were injured in an alleged excesses commited by 43 Assam Rifles personnel on economic blockade supporters on September 6 last at Kangpokpi Bazar, Kuki Students' Organisation (KSO) has sought an apology from the Assam Rifles.
In a press release, KSO said that inquiry has revealed that the incident was a conspiracy hatched by the Assam Rifles to avenge a scuffle between two of its 'arrogant' officers and blockade supporters at Gamgiphai.
The Kangpokpi incident was planned by AR personnel who effectively incited the blockade supporters by bringing 40 loaded trucks which finally culminated into a menacing assault on the passive women strikers, who in retaliation set on fire three of the goods laden trucks.
So, the 43 Assam Rifles owes a public apology if it still wants to maintain close rapprochement with the people of Sadar Hills, KSO said adding that failure on the part of the Assam Rifles to tender apology within September 15 may invite stringent agitation from the students' body.
State Government is also advised to take note of this issue very seriously, KSO added.
Taking strong exception of the alleged delaying tactics played by the Government, KSO questioned why the Government still remains stubborn as the demand has been fully acknowledged by all.
The students' body further said that the public should note that people's action in taking recourse to such an extreme measure as 'economic blockade' is the only viable option left by the Government.
KSO also demanded the Chief Minister to step down if he thinks that he lacks the courage to do one thing which is so legitimate.
Saying that the current state of affairs under the present Government is pathetic, KSO said that a change of guard in the form of President Rule would be a most welcome respite.
KSO also made it clear that the Government's hasty move of constituting a committee on reorganization of administrative and police district boundaries is only a sinister ploy to create confusion and to further complicate the demand of Sadar Hills district.
It amply proved the hypocrisy of the Government which is loathing and unacceptable to the people as Sadar Hills already has well defined district administrative and geographical boundary over the decades, KSO added.