The Assam Rifles said on August 19 said that by restricting the movement of the armed forces in the state, the Mizoram government is violating the directions of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which has serious implications for national security.
An Assam Rifles press release said that the restrictions imposed by the Mizoram government on the operational movement of Assam Rifles are seriously hampering the smooth functioning of the force, impacting the primary task of guarding the border.
“There has been a continuous violation and dilution of orders of the MHA by the state government by restricting the entry of the armed forces in the state and by not allowing entry to Assam Rifles, which is not happening in any part of the country except Mizoram,” the release said.
In view of the rising COVID-19 cases among the Central Para Military Forces (CPMF) personnel in Mizoram and other Northeast states, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga recently made a plea to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure the suspension of CPMF movement into the state till August 31, claiming that around 70% of Novel Coronavirus positive cases in the state are coming from the military and paramilitary personnel.
According to the health officials of the Northeast states, nearly 4,000 CPMF personnel have so far been infected by the disease in almost all the eight states in the region, including Sikkim.
Besides Assam Rifles personnel and Border Security Force (BSF) jawans, many from the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and National Disaster Response Force have tested positive for Novel Coronavirus in different Northeast states.
Four BSF troopers in Tripura (2), Manipur (1) and Meghalaya (1) have died recently of COVID-19 related complications.
The Mizoram government has also issued separate directions restricting the movement of Assam Rifles personnel, who are guarding the 404 km India-Myanmar unfenced international border with Mizoram.
Mizoram has shares an unfenced 318 km international border with Bangladesh and inter-state borders with Assam, Manipur and Tripura.
“Assam Rifles has not caused any community spread of COVID-19 in the state and has been managing its COVID patients at its own quarantine centre in Zokhawsang. It has also not caused any burden and dependency on the state government,” the release said.
It said that Assam Rifles has always assured the state government that all its personnel entering the state would be put through mandatory quarantine protocols under the arrangements made by the force.
“Also, Assam Rifles has never denied undergoing any medical test by the state medical authorities. The guidelines imposing nationwide lockdown by the MHA have clearly made exceptions in respect of defence and CPMF as the first item in the list of exceptions,” it said.
The release said that Assam Rifles has always been commended for its exemplary work in COVID management and border management where the CPMF had seized drugs and other contraband including heroin worth of around Rs 22 crore since July 1.