Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ex-servicemen misusing Army

SILCHAR, Sept 23: Strange as it may seem, the Army is often being misused by ex-servicemen or unscrupulous elements to settle personal scores or for self-aggrandisement. A latest instance of this is the arrest of Shailendra Chandra Das, a school teacher, by the Army and subsequently his detention by the police has raised many questions. Is the army being misguided and misused?

People in general irrespective of caste and creed of his native village Dungripar and adjoining places under Sonai police station burst out in anger and protested against his arrest, alleging he was a victim of the conspiracy hatched by Dungripar Gaon Panchayat President Nasir Ahmed Choudhury.

The protesters in hundreds said in unison that Shailendra Chandra Das, a popular teacher of integrity, had been crusading against the corrupt practices of the Gaon Panchayat in implementing centrally sponsored rural schemes. He was implicated in cooked up charges of keeping arms within the premises of his house, pointed out elderly citizens like Achintya Das and Hazi Hibjur Rahman.

Around 200 residents of Dungripar and other villages assembled before the CJM Court here on Monday, demanding release of Das. The following day, the All Barak Youth and Students’ Association (ABYSA) staged a demonstration before the Cachar Deputy Commissioner’s office seeking his intervention for the sake of justice to Das.

ABYSA president Baharul Islam Barbhuiya said, in a statement, whenever any individual protests against the corruption of Gaon Panchayat, he “is implicated in fabricated charges”. He added that when his organization held demonstration against the corruption in Banskandi block in June, 2008, some of his members were arrested by police on fabricated charges by the unholy nexus between the BDO and politicians. Significantly, Dungripar GP President Nasir Ahmed Choudhury, an ex-service man, influenced the Army to play second fiddle to his design to settle personal vendetta against Das and stifle the voice of protest against him.

There have been several such cases in the past. In August 2003, the house of septuagenarian Karbari Chakma of Binnakandie under Lakhipur police station was raided by the Army at midnight. His licensed gun was seized while a pistol was planted to implicate him under the Arms Act by his adversaries. The fault of the old man was that he resisted attempts against some people of the area to grab the land of tribals. The matter went up to the Union Home Ministry.

In another instance in 2005, some youths of Bihara under Katigorah police station were arrested by the Army from their houses on cooked up charges that they were in possession of unauthorized arms. It was at the intervention of the district BJP leaders that they were released.

In the following year, for tea garden worker Rajdeo Rabidas of Dilkhoosh Tea Garden under Lakhipur police station, it was the same tale as the Army from Dilkhoosh camp lifted Rabidas from his house, took him to their camp and beat him up.

He was falsely charged with links with extremists and business in contraband goods. His fault was that he had filed a case in the police station against one Shital Prasad over land dispute. Prasad influenced ex-service man Chandradeep Koiri who in turn used the Army to suppress him to withdraw the case. THE SENTINEL

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