At the height of the face-off between Arunachal Scouts (AS) personnel and Arunachal Pradesh Police in Bomdila earlier this month, an Armyman carrying a light machine gun pointed and “cocked” his weapon at the local SP and others fired shots in the air to intimidate the police and district administration.
Detailing the confrontation with Armymen on November 2, a day after two AS personnel were detained for disorderly behaviour, in a report to the state DGP, Bomdila SP Raja Banthia also said that several other AS personnel brandished “daws, khukris and cogged their weapons” and that officers of 2 Arunachal Scouts were “inciting the group of armed personnel”.
Banthia’s report to the DGP is likely to be submitted to Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Governor B D Mishra. Police have registered at least five FIRs against Armymen in West Kameng district after soldiers of 2 AS allegedly vandalised premises of a police station, assaulted policemen and a civilian.
While a Defence spokesperson refused to comment on the issue, sources said that a Court of Inquiry has been initiated against Army personnel allegedly involved and appropriate departmental action will be taken against them once the inquiry is complete.
According to PTI, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, while replying to a question about the incident Monday, said: “We are inquiring into it. If any jawans are found guilty, we will take action against them.”
In his report, Banthia mentions how two Army personnel, in an inebriated condition, created a ruckus on November 2 near Bugun Hut with the locals on Buddha Mahotsav in Bomdila of West Kameng district. Banthia says police asked the two Armymen to calm down and go away but that they returned and fought with locals near a police booth and one of them was using “inappropriate language”.
“Police again tried to control the situation, but they entered into a scuffle with the police in-charge of Bomdila police station and also misbehaved with the women police personnel,” states the report.
According to Banthia, the two men were then detained at the police station lock-up where “20-30 personnel of AS, wearing civil dress, gathered outside the police station and started creating chaos”.
Banthia’s report states that around 10-10.30 pm, an Army Major from the AS apologised for their misconduct and requested their release. “He assured that he will produce the duo, if and when required for investigation,” says the report.
“They left the PS after shouting filthy words for police…uttered threats for the SP ‘tell your SP that where ever he finds the SP he will kill him’. They further threatened that they will bring entire troops to PS and will set the PS building on fire.”
According to Banthia’s report, the next day, the commanding officer of 2 AS, threatened the police station in-charge that “he will die between the police station and his residence if he touches his boys again”.
“Later, it was reported that the CO was accompanied by 30-40 fully uniformed, heavily armed personnel in three trucks mounted with deadly weapons,” states the report. According to the report, Banthia reached the police station after he was informed about the situation and at around 12.55 pm, the Arunachal Scouts CO arrived with several Armymen.
“During discussion, CO asked in charge of Bomdila police station to apologise to the two Army personnel in front of the battalion. He also informed that it was very tough for him to control his boys after they came to know about the incident last night. In the meantime, the armed personnel of AS “gheraoed” the police station, damaged police vehicles, assaulted policemen, snatched their weapons. More shockingly, they were incited by their Major,” states the report.
“One person from 2 Arunachal Scouts who was carrying LMG ( which is used against enemies and terrorists) cogged his weapon in front of the undersigned to intimidate him,” Banthia says in the report.
The report also mentions that Armymen entered a PWD building and “damaged” it and “further badly bruised a civilian bystander also who was chased to the toilet of PWD office and beaten up by rifle butts”.
The report states: “The entire road stretch from Forest Check Gate to the SP office Bomdila was blocked by Arunachal Scouts armed men and their loaded trucks with mounted weapons. They took out their daws, khukris and cogged their weapons.”
“Suddenly, they started stone pelting in which stones hit the SP and DC as well. They also fired a gun shot as a well-intended move to overawe authorities from district administration and district police by use of criminal force.”