Imphal, Aug 9: The Army on Wednesday said that some hostile elements have made desperate, repeated and failed attempts to question the role, intent and integrity of the central security forces, especially the Assam Rifles, working relentlessly in Manipur since the ethnic violence erupted on May 3.
In an official statement, the Spear Corps of the Indian Army said it needs to be understood that due to the complex nature of the situation on the ground in Manipur, occasional differences at tactical level do occur between various security forces.
Noting that continuing to be fair to all and to fear none, the Spear Corps said that all such misunderstandings at the functional level are immediately addressed through the joint mechanism to synergise the efforts for restoration of peace and normalcy in Manipur.
Citing two instances that emerged in the past 24 hours, the statement said that in the first case, the Assam Rifles battalion acted strictly in accordance with the mandate of the unified headquarters of strict enforcement of buffer zone guidelines towards preventing violence between two communities in Bishnupur district.
In the second case of Assam Rifles being moved out of an area is not even related to them.
An Infantry Battalion of the Army is deployed in the area (ever since the crisis erupted on May 3) from where the narrative of Assam Rifles being moved out has been made.
“Indian Army and Assam Rifles assure the people of Manipur that we would continue to remain firm and resolute in our actions to prevent any attempt that could result in furthering violence in an already volatile atmosphere,” the statement said.
Last week, the Manipur Police had registered an FIR accusing the personnel of the ninth battalion of Assam Rifles of blocking their movement in Bishnupur district.
A police officer in Imphal said that the Assam Rifles jawans, led by their officers, had blocked police vehicles on the Kwakta Gothol road while the police were going to undertake operations against militants.
The Assam Rifles officers, however, said the para-military troopers were undertaking their task assigned by the command headquarters to ensure security of the people and to prevent clashes between Kuki and Meitei cadres.
The Manipur government, by an order issued on Monday, replaced Assam Rifles by the state police and the CRPF at the check-point in Moirang Lamkhai in Bishnupur after fresh violence erupted last week.
After various Meitei organisations, including the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) and Meira Paibi, the ruling BJP in the state also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday to replace Assam Rifles with any other central paramilitary force in the state.
A letter jointly signed by state BJP President A. Sharda Devi and Vice-President Chidananda said: "The role of Assam Rifles with regard to the ethnic unrest and in maintaining peace and tranquility in the state has been under considerable criticism and public outrage."
Since the outbreak of the ethnic violence on May 3, the Assam Rifles troopers completely failed to maintain their impartial role to restore peace and normalcy in the state, the letter said. (IANS)