Other States

IPS officer’s harassment charge malicious: Assam Rifles

‘Officer along with armed male escorts in civil dress started arguing in an ignoble and indecorous language’

The Assam Rifles (AR) has refuted the allegations by an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer that its troops had harassed, assaulted and misbehaved with her during a routine check of vehicles in Manipur’s Tengnoupal district on January 18.

Acting on a complaint by Sub-Divisional Police Officer of Yairipok Anupama, copies of which were submitted to the Governor Najma Heptulla and Director General of Police L. M. Khaute, the Manipur State Commission for Women (MSCW) on Monday summoned an Assam Rifles jawan identified as P. K. Pandey. The panel also sought suggestions from the National Commission for Women and State Chief Minister N. Biren Singh.

In a statement received late Tuesday night, Assam Rifles said the police officer’s allegations that she was “assaulted, harassed and molested” at the Khudengthabi Check Post were baseless and malicious. It said the SUV (sports utility vehicle) the police officer was in had bypassed the designated scanning lane and jumped the vehicle queue at the check post around 2 p.m. on that day. The vehicle had come from Moreh, a town on the Manipur-Myanmar border.

‘Normal action’

“The vehicle was stopped by the AR troops and the passengers were asked for their identification, which is the normal course of action at the check post. On being enquired about the identity of the passengers and reasons for bypassing the scanning and jumping the queue, the officer along with armed male escorts who were in civil dress started arguing in an ignoble and indecorous language which is unbecoming of a uniformed soldier,” the statement said.

This was possibly with the aim of avoiding checking of the unidentified and suspicious stores loaded in the vehicle, the statement said.

Apart from refusing to divulge her identity and behaving rudely, the police officer started clicking photographs of the check post, to which rifleman Pandey objected. However, she persisted and continued clicking photographs, which is against the laid down norms, the statement said.

The AR said the police officer and her escorts were carrying their personal weapons without any escort vehicle, outside her area of jurisdiction. “Had she cooperated with the security forces and provided the identity as asked, such an unwarranted incident as claimed by her could have been avoided,” a spokesperson of the paramilitary force said.

Movement of such vehicles with occupants in civil dress carrying weapons in a vulnerable area and without prior intimation to other security agencies has serious operational ramifications, the AR said, adding that video footage of the incident at the check post would be released at an appropriate time.

‘On official duty’

Though Ms. Anupama maintains that she was on official duty, the AR is in possession of video clippings showing her and her party entering two towns across the international border, Namphalong and Tamu, and bringing some “suspicious items”, which falsify her claim of being “on official duty”.

It has been pointed out that senior officers of the AR tried to bring about a compromise. Instead of extending cooperation to the officers “she [Ms. Anupama] insisted on hitting the rifleman Pandey ten times with a shoe” for accepting his apology.

It further added that since the incident took place in the presence of people and several agencies, it was not possible that the officer and her team were “assaulted”.

‘Law takes course’

The Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren, who holds the State’s Home portfolio, has said that the law will take its own course, “now that a First Information Report (FIR) has been lodged with the police”.

The MSCW and several women’s organisations have condemned the incident and demanded appropriate action against Pandey and four other personnel named in the FIR.

[Inputs from Iboyaima Laithangbam in Imphal]

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 11:01:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ips-officers-harassment-charge-malicious-assam-rifles/article30625051.ece

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