Director General Assam Rifles with Mizoram CM

Director General Assam Rifles (DGAR) Lt. General Sukhdeep Sangwan on Wednesday called on Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga over the recent stand-off between the state government and the country’s oldest paramilitary force, an official statement said.

The statement said that both the chief minister and the director-general held interaction under friendly environment not only on the issue related to the recent standoff but also re-allocation of Assam Rifles from the heart of Aizawl city to Zokhawsang on the outskirts of the city.

Zoramthanga urged Sangwan to shift their base to Zokhawsang at the earliest possible.

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He informed the DG that the ongoing smart city project has to be halted due to the delay in shifting of its base by Assam Rifles from the heart of Aizawl to Zokhawsang.

Expressing concern over the increasing movement of people and drugs smuggling across the border, the chief minister also urged the Assam Rifles head to step up vigil along the Mizoram-Myanmar border.

He also asked Sangwan to avoid a mass inter-state movement of troopers amid Covid-19 spread.

Mizoram shares 404 km long international border with of Myanmar.

In the afternoon, Sangwan also met state chief secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo and both held a friendly discussion on the prevailing issue between the state government and Assam Rifles.

The standoff between Mizoram government and Assam Rifles began on August 18, when 15 personnel of 46 Battalion of Assam Rifles allegedly barged into the state without complying with entry and safety protocols laid down by the state government to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The state home department had alleged that the person refused to undergo mandatory screening and that 25 personnel from Aizawl were sent to Vairengte on that day to intimidate civil administration.

The state government also accused Assam Rifles of skipping Independence Day celebrations.

Earlier on August 24, Chuaungo had written two letters to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla over the “boycott” of Independence Day celebrations and alleged violation of safety protocols by Assam Rifles.

Assam Rifles denied the allegations and said that they were denied medical screening though they had insisted the officials.

The force also said that the 15 personnel were denied entry to the state against the Union Minister of Home Affairs (MHA) directive, which exempted security personnel from the restriction of inter-state movement during Covid-19 period.

It also said that personnel of Assam Rifles participated at the Independence Day celebrations and only its DIG and a few officers bunked the celebration in Aizawl due to grievances over Warrant of Precedence (WoP) notified by the state government on August 11.

The state government, however, said that brigadier or equivalent rank in Assam Rifles and other services was elevated from the rank of additional secretary to the rank of secretary to the state government in the new WoP.

The state government also said that the WoP issued on August 11 has been kept in abeyance since August 14.

Meanwhile, the Central Committee of Young Mizo Association (CYMA) has set a new deadline for Assam Rifles to tender a written apology to the people of Mizoram for allegedly violating Covid-19 protocols and molesting two women in Champhai district near the Myanmar border on August 15.

Earlier, the organisation had demanded an apology from the paramilitary force before August was over.

Central YMA vice president Lalhmachhuana said that the organisation has set September 5 as the new deadline following an appeal by heads of the Assam Rifles during their meeting with leaders of Central YMA on August 26.

“Although the paramilitary force had expressed verbal apology, we demand a written apology from it on or before September 5, failing which the organisation will decide its future course of action,” he said.

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