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Hope for the common people; Hopefully the lady IPS officer understands how the common people suffer traveling on Imphal-Moreh road

Every high profile government employee should visit the border town Moreh to find out how the civilians are being harassed in the name of checking by Para Military troopers at Khudengthabi army check point.
Sharing a porous border with the neighbouring Myanmar and with incessant reports of drugs and arms smuggling being carried out in this route, the Assam Rifles have been given full authority to check the flow of illegal articles. Having said so, the kind of harassment meted out to small time traders and civilians visiting Moreh Town is extraneous. Moreh town is Just around hundred and five kilometres from Imphal and there is no reason for a vehicle to take more than 2 hours reaching the place, however, unnecessary detention in the name of checking and entry registrations delayed the journey for almost all common people. During checking there were reports of small time lady traders being harassed and even recently a middle aged lady was reportedly molested by the AR troops at Khudengthabi and the matter comes to light at the public domain only after she dared to challenge. There are several unreported cases of such harassment faced by common people due to fear of unwanted consequences and retaliations.
The recent incident involving a personnel of the 12 AR posted at Khudengthabi reportedly mishandling one lady IPS officer on January 19 afternoon when she was returning from duty at Moreh talks volumes. It suggested in more ways than one that the Para Military troops like the Assam Rifles are not here to assist the state police in controlling the law and order situation of the state. This is a clear sign of the state being run under the whim of the Assam Rifles or Army. It was fortunate that the lady IPS officer returned in civil dress along with her Manipur police escorts in civil dress , as she herself had seen herself how rude can be those at the check point at Khudenthabi.
One important point that people need to ponder on is why the Assam Rifles are providing specific timings and restrictions on when to come or go to Moreh by any individual. Home Minister of Manipur had stated that the law and order has improved and people are free to move any place any time without fear.
With the Indian government casting an expectant gage toward the South East Asia region, traffic along the Imphal Moreh route has been on the rise, and is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. Why is the Assam rifles not opening the road 24x7 to prevent bulk checking of vehicles which either comes towards Imphal from Moreh or from Moreh to Imphal. Congestion at the designated check point may be reduced and the AR trooper might find relaxing time while performing duty.
Inconveniences and harassment to civilians while travelling the Imphal-Moreh road has been a given since a very long time. But none dare to protest against it. Thanks to the lady IPS officer who put up the matter with extreme seriousness. The IPS Officers Association Manipur Chapter has extended its support to the lady IPS officer, the Women Commission has taken note of it and it is time that all travelers along this route either for business purpose or as tourist which had experienced the kind of harassment at Khudengthabi or any other check post should now come out with their story.
Meanwhile, the Assam Rifles’ attempt to cover up the event by trying to prove the action of their personnel as justified is meaningless. Instead they should have implemented a practice or process to make the travelers secure by formulating a mechanism. Perhaps opening of the road 24x7 is one way to reduce the long queue of vehicles for hours . For checking of the drugs and armed smuggling the AR should strengthen their intelligence network as well as implement available technology. Harassing people in the name of checking is not acceptable in a free country. Such authoritarian attitude can only be tolerated and accepted under a colonial regime and nowhere else, especially in this time and age.

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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