01/05/2022

Relationship between State and paramilitary force has been strained over the latter’s alleged violation of COVID-19 protocol

The Mizoram government has written to the Centre accusing paramilitary force Assam Rifles of boycotting the Independence Day celebration in the State.
Chief Secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo on August 24 informed the Ministry of Home Affairs that the head of the Assam Rifles in the State boycotted the I-Day celebration on August 15 over the Warrant of Precedence issued by the State government.
Mr. Chuaungo also apprised the MHA of violations of COVID-19 protocols by Assam Rifles personnel at Vairengte on the Assam-Mizoram border on August 18. The personnel, he said, had barged into the State by defying the entry and safety protocols laid down by the State government to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The administrative control of Assam Rifles lies with the MHA, while the Defence Ministry wields operational control.
The Chief Secretary told the Union Home Secretary that the Assam Rifles head had no authentic reason to bunk the I-Day celebration because of the Warrant of Precedence as a Brigadier or equivalent rank in the paramilitary force is elevated from the rank of Additional Secretary to Secretary to the State government, said Ramdinliani, Additional Secretary to Mizorams Home Department.
The grievances of the paramilitary force, she added, could have been addressed if the matter had been brought to the notice of the State government before boycotting the I-Day celebration.
Rochuangkimi Khenglawt, Under Secretary to Mizorams General Administration Department, on August 21 wrote to Brigadier Vinod S., Assam Rifles Mizoram sector head, resenting the I-Day boycott.
The Mizoram governments complaint against the Assam Rifles is believed to be a fallout of the August 18 incident at Vairengte.
Local organisations and the authorities in Mizorams Champhai district have also been at loggerheads with the Assam Rifles over an alleged case of molestation by personnel of the paramilitary force on August 15.
District officials said a woman had lodged a police complaint accusing the Assam Rifles personnel of molesting her while checking her belongings. She was working in a field in her village close to the border with Myanmar.
The Assam Rifles refuted the molestation charge, but a reaction to the allegation of having boycotted the I-Day celebration in State capital Aizawl was awaited.