The Ministry of Home Affairs has formally written to the Ministry of Defence, urging it refrain from delaying deployment of the army, if requested by the local administration to contain violence and help check flare-ups, as witnessed in Assam’s violence-hit districts.

In its official communication, the MHA has pointed out relevant laws, where the state administration can request commanders of army units deployed in their areas to send personnel in case of communal clashes. “The MoD has been told that the local administration has the powers to directly requisition locally deployed army units in an Assam-like situation… The Defence Ministry has been requested to direct commanders to immediately act on such requests, without waiting for clearances from New Delhi,” a senior MHA official said.

Notably, Assam Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi, had blamed the Army for the two-day delay in deployment of troops in Kokrajhar and Chirang districts, despite deputy commissioners of the two worst violence-hit districts requesting local army units for help, which led to escalation in clashes and deaths. This charge was even supported by the MHA, which blamed the Defence Ministry for the unnecessary delay from the Army headquarters in ordering locals commanders in Assam.

Mr. Gogoi had pointed out that “unprecedented crisis” and loss of lives could have been avoided, had army men stationed in the two major Army units just 150 km from Kokrajhar and Chirang reached the violence-hit areas on time. Even the MHA took time in sending additional paramilitary personnel to the affected areas, which led to escalation in violence.