Rebuttal to 'Ground report from Moreh : How Manipur's multicultural frontier became a homogenized centre of the Kukis', published in the Swaragya and carried by TSE on 23rd August 2023
From the perspective of Assam Rifles and the security forces in the region, it is important to clarify a few points regarding the situation at Moreh:
a) The portrayal of Moreh, a thriving semi-cosmopolitan town traversed by the trans-Asiatic road and boasting the presence of numerous State and Central agencies, as having a deteriorated law and order situation is indeed incomprehensible. Moreh being a mini replica of Imphal City with multiple ethnicities, has all Central and State agencies, including the Custom Dept firmly entrenched in the administration machinery. Internal law and order matters are primarily the responsibilities of the respective State Government agencies, and holding these accountable for their performance is imperative for addressing any shortcomings in governance and security.
b) The Assam Rifles has successfully safeguarded the Indo-Myanmar border from cross border infiltration of militia notwithstanding the FMR agreement (or the lack of it) along the length of the IMB. In the last two years Assam Rifles has pushed back approx five thousand Myanmarese citizens from IMB, and shared details of the balance 1200 localised refuge seekers pro-actively with the State agencies for further disposal. Additionally the AR in the Moreh region alone has seized contraband of approx Rs 1100 Cr in the past five years. In the same duration and location, it was with the persistent efforts of AR that 76 insurgents were apprehended/surrendered along with weapons before being handed over to the State Police.
In the context of Moreh, the internal-security situation remains stable, allowing the State Government to exercise its authority effectively. Blaming the Assam Rifles, whose primary role revolves around border guarding, for issues related to internal law and order is an oversimplification of a complex matter presumably with an ulterior motive by novices in matters of internal security. Responsible journalism should refrain from laying blame on external entities and instead focus on addressing challenges collaboratively, recognising the shared responsibilities in maintaining law and order.
Lieutenant Colonel Aabha KS, Staff Office (Public Relation & Media)