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Arunachal Pradesh is Indian Army’s tallest ally, don’t take its people for granted

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The alleged violence by the personnel of the 2nd Arunachal Scouts at a police station in Bomdila isn’t acceptable behaviour.

The personnel of the 2nd Arunachal Scouts, the infantry regiment of the Indian Army stationed in Bomdila, West Kameng, allegedly rampaged through the police station and the PWD office, intimidating citizens and Arunachal Pradesh police personnel on 3 November.

According to the police version, two Arunachal Scouts personnel were picked up by them for alleged drunken behaviour on 2 November from the Buddha Festival Ground, which led to the incident of the next day.

Although the Arunachal Pradesh police are not admitting it, it is possible that the two personnel may have been beaten up while in custody. Instead of seeking redressal through laid down procedures, the Arunachal Scouts delivered mob justice the next day.

The videos that are being widely shared on social media are a testimony to the violent behaviour of the Arunachal Scouts. Their anger was also directed at the deputy commissioner, Sonal Swaroop, who was injured in the attack.

Also read: IAS body wants defence ministry to take action against Army for Arunachal ‘assault’

What does it say about the leadership of the Arunachal Scouts?

Such disgraceful conduct of the Indian Army is unheard of in the state, which has shared a cordial relationship with the Army. From giving way to passing Army convoys to donating land, mostly for free, post the India-China 1962 war, the relationship that people of Arunachal and the Indian Army share is remarkable. Unlike in other northeast states, where the Indian Army has been accused of using force, including killings, rapes and torture, which resulted in open hostilities, the Indian Army is widely respected in Arunachal Pradesh. Even festivals are organised to celebrate the friendship between the Army and the civilians in Arunachal.

However, not all places share the same emotion for the Indian Army, but those are rare exceptions. There have been reports about Army’s high-handedness and alleged atrocities in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts in eastern Arunachal Pradesh, bordering Nagaland and Myanmar. The three districts remain under the dreaded Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which gives special powers to the Indian Army, emboldening them to crush all basic human rights.

Even as the Indian government claimed to have reached a framework agreement with the NSCN (IM) in 2015, although no one seems to know the details of the agreement, the districts continue to witness a bloody turf war between the Indian security forces and various sections of the NSCN.

Amid demands for the repeal of AFSPA by human rights activists, the Act is also enforced in eight police stations of Arunachal Pradesh (bordering Assam), with formidable presence of the security forces.

The entire state, one of the most militarised zones in India, has significant Army presence as Arunachal shares borders with Myanmar, Bhutan and China.

Also read: ‘Indian Army does not like being committed to civilian operations, they’re our own people’

In most parts of the state, the Army, even as it patrols the border in hostile terrain and snow, has been able to maintain cordial relations with citizens.

With headquarters in prime locations across the state and in border towns of Tuting, Tenga, Tawang, Tezu, Hawai, Rayang, Mechuka and Aalo, the Indian Army is often seen as an ally and a major buyer of local produce as well as provider of menial jobs to the villagers. In many border villages, several homes depend on the Indian Army for their livelihood as the villagers are employed as porters for inaccessible mountainous terrain.

Therefore, the recent show of open hostility and alleged violence against the civilian administration and the police in Bomdila by the Arunachal Scouts has left many puzzled.

Whatever may have been the reason and provocation, attacking a police station and leaving government employees injured are not acceptable behaviour, even by the Indian Army standards. The Army isn’t really famous for its good conduct in the northeast.

Those heading the Arunachal Scouts need to introspect on their leadership qualities and the immediate repercussions of their alleged act. Several community organisations have already written to the Prime Minister’s Office seeking removal of the Arunachal Scouts from Bomdila. Perhaps, this is the first time in the history of Arunachal Pradesh that an Army unit has been asked to leave by the people of the state.

If the Indian Army is serious about maintaining cordial relations with the people, it is paramount that action is initiated against the officers and personnel of the Arunachal Scouts.

After a long studied silence, there’s finally some word from the government on the issue. Minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh said Wednesday, “The Defence Minister and I looked into the ongoing conflict between the Army and state police personnel. I appeal everyone not to treat it as Army versus police and civil administration issue”.

Also read: A boast, a smirk and 2 viral photos: How Indian Army’s image stands dented

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman visited Bomdila on Diwali and is believed to have met civil society representatives as part of confidence-building measures following the alleged attack by the Army.

Arunachal Pradesh has been the tallest ally of the Indian Army and, therefore, the goodwill of the people should not be taken for granted. Perhaps, to some extent, the goodwill among the people makes up for the hostile terrain and the difficult situations that the Army encounters along the border.

The Indian Army should always keep in mind that the border is secured not only by them but also due to the combined efforts of everyone, including the citizens and their goodwill.

The author is a human rights activist and associate editor with The Arunachal Times.

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  1. Your biased opinion means nothing. It s true that Army s not above Arunachal Pradesh and so be the Arunachal Police and the DM. Ur selective human rights application for other personnel was justified but not beating up the Army jawans inside police lock up. Because of ur stupid one sided opinion, the institutions gets disrepute. U people r thriving by instigating innocent people who has faith in these institutions to serve ur masters who r feeding u from abroad. Show some remorse before jumping to conclusions which suits u.

  2. Totally biased and IPS cum IAS sponsored article. Basics are false with author trying to put complete blame of Indian Amry. By the Mr Rina, stop taking benefits and security provided by Indian Army to citizens. Every landslide and snow storm get police and IAS to help you, then you will realize who have interest of own people in mind. It’s proven now that no vandalism happened, no injury to DM. What say you now…..

  3. Rina do you know what you are writing. Or are you getting favours from the DC/ DM and the police. Be honest to yourself and tell yourself whose fault was it.

  4. The poor Arunachal Police had just politely taken the two jawans into custody, they treated them with the utmost respect since they were soldiers.
    The poor inspector was yelled at by the Colonel and the SP was too obese to do anything while the murderous Arunachal Scouts vandalised their premises.

    The Police were so sweet and humble (as we know police everywhere to be). They kept pleading with The Army to keep the peace but the savage Armymen did not listen.

  5. Mr Tongam Rina you have yourself done more damage to Arunanchal Pradesh than the Police or Army personnel involved. You don’t even seem to be aware that Arunanchal Scouts is completely local to the state. Its entire soldier class is drawn from people of Arunanchal Pradesh. Do you want your local soldiers in Army Uniform beaten by an arrogant Police man? Would it strengthen your logic that Army is helped by locals to survive and serve there but Police lives on its own. In that case Police should save you from Chinese and Army should be withdrawn. Journalists like you and your Policemen friends can go fight the Chinese.

  6. These pseudo intellectuals should have been in China and Pakistan,then would. Have seen statements against disciplind defence forces.these shameless people have double standards.having said that I am confident of all action by co is in order and these sold media is also to be blamed for taking sides of civilians as we don’t have anything to give them on the contrary civilians govt officers and police and media are in symbiotic relationship and nose dip in all wrong deeds

  7. It is tru Arunachal police and admistrstor violated rule of law, but why amry attacked to the police station? army could have taken legal action against them. Army use to demolish only selter home or building of terrorist, why army tried to demolish police station and other public premises. Under which section of Military Act? confer power to demolish the public premises and attack against the defaulter of order,rule and law. No one is above the law and not deserve to act beyond the law. Our country is bound by law, because of our country the army exist, army is not creator of our country, so army should have respect the law of land and maintain law and order.

  8. The author provides a detailed picture of the history,geography and socio-cultural aspects of Arunachal Pradesh in its relations with the Indian Armed Forces.But,the issue is quite simply about command and control and the rule of law in Disturbed Areas.The military provides raw and swift justice to lead and be ahead in battle.The men you command,their welfare,is first and last that the guilty gets his due by the Commanding Officer a principle of administration accepted to as a first line of fairplay which the civil police needlessly transgressed without informing the CO.Politics begins where action ends.

  9. Police tried to fabricate medical reports of the beaten up jawans and also create evidence of their “vandalism”. In addition, the IAS and IPS association have displayed their prejudice and bias and a Secretary level officer of Min of Child & Women Development has used his official letter pad to seek action AGAINST the unit without ascertaining facts in an impartial probe. For the sake of impartiality and transparency, the SHO, SP and DM must be removed till enquiry is completed, if required!!
    The IAS IPS Association should not keep influencing the case since the defence forces do not have rights to form such association.
    Veterans must unite and come to defend the actions of the CO

  10. You can’t only put blame on Scouts, what about the behaviour of the police personals, did they follow the law in proper manner. Police Personal SI Ashok Tayeng show the power of his uniform , so the Army did.
    The behaviour of Arunachal police is intolerable at same circumstances. Specially the New Joinies feel themself as Bond “James Bond”.

  11. An out n out biased article which is nothing short of media peddling.
    Police is supposed to handover any defaulter to Military immediately after arrest. Police is not authorized to physically assault troops in its custody. Any DC/SP who can’t force his police force to behave as per law is unfit to be an administrator. What CO of Scout said is exactly what is expected from any CO who commands any military unit, You cannot assault n abuse troopers like this.
    Do you belive Police will act against it’s own defaulters, who assaulted soldiers?
    Last but most important point:- Scouts are son of land, they are locals so don’t pitch it as a Army vs Arunachali case.
    Please preach your biased narrative somewhere else.

  12. Author seems to have a biased view or is part of propoganda machinery, Arunachal Scouts is raised from local Arunachal Youth, they bashed up (if at all) civil adm, so it is not against Arunachal Pradesh, it is against defunct civil adm.

  13. We do respect Army very much indeed
    But this is not the way to do since they are serving our nation they should not show their EGO problem to the civilians and the civil administration,they even dont give a way when they are in a convoy
    And the use of unparliamentary language is that what they learn during their training hours ????

      • Definately the police should handover the arrested personal to the army as per the old laid down laws which should be ammended by the parliament

        But while teasing girls on that festival day… they were not in uniforms so the law should be same for all whether its army teasing women or a police teasing women or any other proffession teasing women in an intoxicated mode

  14. This is BS, the police misbehave with common people every day, police is not someone people like to approach for issues. They make money both ways. Police and IAS are rascals who are trying to become power centers and want to degrade the forces. What police got from the army is what they should get from everyone who is ill-treated by the police. So many people get ill-treated by the police because this is a nation of bending fakirs and have always been at the recieving end of global rulers and have always been ruled, slavery is in the blood. Now there are not external rulers but internal.goons like IPS, local Police and Civil servants who all think they are VIPs and misbehave on roads sirens pushing people etc. In historically courageous nations like US UK Russia for such poor treatment of public time and again multiple cops would have been beaten up.and killed and they would have learnt to behave. Now owing to military training and sense of self respect the army don’t take shit sitting and give it back to the Police the hard way.. good .. police and DM and DC deserve this. This bastards DC and DM and SP also why should they be given cars and banglows at our cost. They should wash and start their own cars, cool breakfast feed kids, drop them to school and come to work… Why is Govt spending tax payer money on these people and make them different to commoners?????

  15. writer should know that many public and civilians are with the Army’s,local people knows that it was the police who takes the law in thier hand by putting up the soldiers in lock up n shoot with the pistol.that is not the way to treat the soldiers though they may be misbehaving. I totally condemned the police officer who was on duty

  16. Disgracefull behaviour by army no provocation can justify there conduct, army unit concernakulam need to be removed immediately as a confidence building measure and strongest action against the commanding officer shold be initiated at the earliest.

  17. The issue seems to be more about Police and civil administration not handling the issue in proper manner. It would be pertinent to understand that soldiers of Arunachal Scouts are locals of the area and cannot be in conflict with their own people. The local media also has to toe the line of police and civil administration

  18. A Uniform brings honour and soldier die for Thier honour . It’s not like a police service where people don’t have have honour left . Police people are most corrupt in the country .Moreover the police should understand that cannot arrest a soldier and there are laws for it . Why the the soldiers at all were kept in lock up and beaten ? Why the law keeper broke the law ? Why people are not asking questions to the Police ? A propganda has been created by the police and media is also helping them . Police reforms is very necessary to save the country.

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