Molestation complaint filed against Assam Rifles personnel in Mizoram

Aizawl, 25 Aug : A case has been filed against personnel of the Assam Rifles in Mizoram for allegedly molesting a woman on August 15 in the border district of Champai, police said Monday.

According to news agency PTI however, the paramilitary force has refuted the allegations.

A senior police officer told The Indian Express that the woman said in her complaint she was working in a field in a village which is close to the Myanmar border on August 15, when personnel of the Assam Rifles allegedly tried to molest her while checking her belongings. A friend of the woman was also present on the spot at the time, according to the complaint. The officer said the complaint also alleges that the soldiers had followed the two women when they started walking away from the soldiers.

Champai Superintendent of Police Rex Zarzoliana Vanchhawng said, “A case has been registered. We are investigating the matter. We have summoned the Assam Rifles personnel to give their statements.”

The Young Mizo Association (YMA), the most influential social group in Mizoram, has condemned the alleged incident and has demanded an apology from the Assam Rifles.

The YMA has also condemned an alleged incident in Vairengte town — and entry point into the state — on August 18, where personnel of the paramilitary force allegedly barged in while violating Covid-19 protocol.

The Vairengte incident was also the focal point of a spar between the Mizoram government and the Assam Rifles, with the latter saying the state government denying entry to armed forces clearly violated directions of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and had serious national security implications.

On August 19, Mizoram Home Deprtment under secretary Zahmingthanga had written to Brigadier Vinod S, DIG 23 Sector Assam Rifles saying that the force’s personnel had refused to comply with the entry and medical screening protocol at Vairengte and “forced their way through the check gate into Mizoram in the afternoon” of August 18.

“It is unfortunate that the aforementioned rogue behaviour by the Assam Rifles has occurred at a time when the State is struggling to cope with the high rate of increase of Covid-19 cases and to contain community spread, and hence, is extremely cautious about incoming persons, residents as well as non-residents,” Zahmingthanga had written.

Assam Rifles argued that it has not caused any community spread in the state and has been managing its Covid patients at its own quarantine centre and that they have not “caused any burden/ dependency on the State Govt”.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 2, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga had written that the “main hurdle” the state was facing in checking the spread of Covid-19 was the “unrestricted movement” of paramilitary forces. He had urged the PM to stop interstate movement of security personnel for the month of August.

~ Indian Express
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