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Call for immediate reorganisation of Assam Rifles

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, Aug 16 - The Task Force constituted by the Prime Minister to examine the problems of management of the India-Myanmar border has recommended immediate reorganisation of the Assam Rifles as the possibility of rebellion in the force under the present system cannot be ruled out.

The Assam Rifles, which has 46 battalions, is engaged in counter-insurgency duties in the North East and also in guarding the international border with Myanmar. The Task Force, along with the recommendation to replace the force with Indo-Tibetan Border Police in the international border, has suggested that the Force should be reorganised so that it can become like the other Central paramilitary forces.

The present system of functioning of the Force has been creating confusion and added to the growing dissention among the personnel. At present, the administrative control of the Assam Rifles is under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which also controls the budget of the Force. But at the same time, the operational control of the Force is under the Defence Ministry. This creates serious problems for the Force from time to time. The Task Force recommended that the Assam Rifles should be brought under the MHA like the other Central paramilitary forces.

Growing dissention among the personnel of the Force is a matter of serious concern and the Force faced serious rebellion in Manipur in 2010. The Government had to go for strict action against a number of personnel of the Force to bring the situation under control. The possibility of such rebellion in the Force cannot be ruled out if the present system is allowed to continue, the Task Force observed. At the same time, the Task Force pointed out that a number of cases against the personnel of the force are pending in different courts and dissention of the personnel may be one of the reasons for it.

In all the other Central paramilitary forces, recruitments are done in three levels, at Jawan level, at Sub Inspector level and at the level of company commanders. The officers of such forces can rise up to the level of Additional Director General. Whenever the same officers work with same battalions for a period of time, they develop a sense of belonging.

But in case of the Assam Rifles, the situation is totally different as Army officers are deputed in the Force for very short tenures of two to three years and they cannot develop sense of belonging with the battalions they command and the men they have to control. Similarly the troops also can�t bond well with their officers in most of the cases.

In the Assam Rifles, the recruitments are done at two levels, at the level of jawans and sub inspectors. At best, an SI can rise up to the company commander level, this has caused serious dissention among the personnel of the force. If the Assam Rifles is reorganized like the other paramilitary forces, this problem can be sorted out, the Task Force said.

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Call for immediate reorganisation of Assam Rifles

GUWAHATI, Aug 16 - The Task Force constituted by the Prime Minister to examine the problems of management of the India-Myanmar border has recommended immediate reorganisation of the Assam Rifles as the possibility of rebellion in the force under the present system cannot be ruled out.

The Assam Rifles, which has 46 battalions, is engaged in counter-insurgency duties in the North East and also in guarding the international border with Myanmar. The Task Force, along with the recommendation to replace the force with Indo-Tibetan Border Police in the international border, has suggested that the Force should be reorganised so that it can become like the other Central paramilitary forces.

The present system of functioning of the Force has been creating confusion and added to the growing dissention among the personnel. At present, the administrative control of the Assam Rifles is under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which also controls the budget of the Force. But at the same time, the operational control of the Force is under the Defence Ministry. This creates serious problems for the Force from time to time. The Task Force recommended that the Assam Rifles should be brought under the MHA like the other Central paramilitary forces.

Growing dissention among the personnel of the Force is a matter of serious concern and the Force faced serious rebellion in Manipur in 2010. The Government had to go for strict action against a number of personnel of the Force to bring the situation under control. The possibility of such rebellion in the Force cannot be ruled out if the present system is allowed to continue, the Task Force observed. At the same time, the Task Force pointed out that a number of cases against the personnel of the force are pending in different courts and dissention of the personnel may be one of the reasons for it.

In all the other Central paramilitary forces, recruitments are done in three levels, at Jawan level, at Sub Inspector level and at the level of company commanders. The officers of such forces can rise up to the level of Additional Director General. Whenever the same officers work with same battalions for a period of time, they develop a sense of belonging.

But in case of the Assam Rifles, the situation is totally different as Army officers are deputed in the Force for very short tenures of two to three years and they cannot develop sense of belonging with the battalions they command and the men they have to control. Similarly the troops also can�t bond well with their officers in most of the cases.

In the Assam Rifles, the recruitments are done at two levels, at the level of jawans and sub inspectors. At best, an SI can rise up to the company commander level, this has caused serious dissention among the personnel of the force. If the Assam Rifles is reorganized like the other paramilitary forces, this problem can be sorted out, the Task Force said.