Imphal, July 23: Differences seem to be loomed between top officials of the Assam Rifles and the Manipur state Police over the retention of custody of arms and ammunitions seized during counter insurgency operation in the state. Source said the Manipur state police department had strongly objected the Assam Rifles’ petitions for retention of the seized weapon during counter insurgency operation in their custody.
In a letter written to state home department, the office of the Inspector General of Assam Rifles (IGAR) South had claimed the responsibility of retaining the weapons seized by them during counter insurgency operation in the state. The Assam Rifles had reportedly furnished that in a comprehensive review of Assam Rifles by the Union Home Secretary on October 9, 2012 at New Delhi, the Home Secretary insisted that all seized weapons should be kept under the custody of Assam Rifles after required formalities are completed to prevent the same from falling into the wrong hands.
Regarding this the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has been requested to issue appropriate direction or guidelines for disposal of arms and ammunitions seized by security force in the state to avoid any misunderstanding with the state police functionaries, the source further adds.
Assam Rifles battalions deployed in the state are involved in various counter insurgency operations to curb militants’ activities for maintaining law and order.
State government’s argument to the Assam Rifles’ claimed for custodial rights of seized weapons stands contrary to the statement furnished by them. It has stated that the Supreme Court of India vide its order dated 07-08-2001 in Naga Peoples’ Movement for Human Rights Vs. Union of India and others has laid down that with a view to protect and preserved the seized weapons and other property, the army authority should report to the nearest Police Station about the factum of arrest or seizure furnishing at the same time a list of all seized articles and an undertaking to produce the same before the magistrate concerned. The SC order further stated that the army should obtain orders from the concerned Magistrate for custody of the seized articles including their interim custody. It also further mentioned that custody of the seized articles by army authorities shall, however, be on behalf of the police concerned, and the same shall be produced by the army authorities in the court as and when required by the court.