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Report by Rapid Action Force Claims They Were Attacked in Manipur

Last Updated on September 17, 2023 by SPN Editor

Imphal/ September 17, 2023 (SPN) | The Rapid Action Force (RAF) filed a report in which they claimed that they had come under attack. However, they failed to mention their involvement in the rampage vandalism of private vehicles and attempt to arson local shops in Imphal city.

According to an article published in the Hindu, RAF says that when they tried to stop a mob of about 3,000 people from stealing weapons from a police armory in Thoubal on July 4, they were attacked with glass balls, stones, sharp iron rods, and petrol bombs. In that incident, one person died and a few others were hurt.

The report mentioned that the district’s Superintendent of Police (SP) didn’t visit the scene of the incident even once. Moreover, despite repeated requests, magistrates often weren’t available or weren’t provided during critical incidents. This shows a significant insensitivity and a lack of coordination, which has led to poorly managed crowd control and the mishandling of serious conflicts.

In the report, the RAF also says that they shouldn’t be sent out at night to faraway places without regular troops. Using the RAF for things they’re not trained for could lead to serious problems, given the situation in Manipur right now.

On May 27, three members of the central Rapid Action Force (RAF) who were stationed in violence-affected Manipur were arrested by the state police. They were apprehended for their alleged involvement in an attempt to set fire to a local shop in the New Checkon area in Imphal.

Following their arrest, the Home Ministry announced the suspension of these individuals, namely Somdev Arya, Kuldeep Singh, and Pradeep Kumar of the RAF.

An inquiry into their actions was initiated. The trio fled from the scene after facing opposition from local residents. The incident was captured on CCTV footage, which aided the police in identifying the culprits.

On June 13, another alarming incident came to light where law enforcement personnel were found breaking the law themselves. CCTV footage captured members of the Rapid Action Force (RAF) engaged in vandalizing vehicles parked alongside the Trans-Asian Highway at approximately 2:20 a.m. on Tuesday.

The footage shows several RAF personnel using stones and cans to damage up to 12 four-wheelers parked along the western side of the road. They also shattered the windows of houses in Yaiskul Yumnam Leikai, Imphal West.

Notably, this incident took place when the street was deserted, as confirmed by the CCTV footage. Another angle of the footage revealed some RAF personnel firing tear gas rounds into the empty street before rushing into a nearby workshop.

Centre is thinking about pulling out the Rapid Action Force (RAF), from Manipur due to concerns about their safety and their ability to handle the situation there.

Currently, 10 companies of the RAF are deployed in Manipur — eight in the valley districts, and two in the hills. The government is worried that keeping them there, where there is violence and conflict, is not the right job for them. RAF officers are usually trained for crowd control and maintaining peace during protests and conflicts within communities.

Apart from the RAF, there are around 36,000 paramilitary forces and army personnel in Manipur. The State has been experiencing violent clashes between two communities, the Meitei, and Chin-Kuki, which have resulted in many deaths and displacements.

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