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Home ministry to seek CCS nod for Assam Rifles ops control

According to government insiders, home minister Amit Shah has to take a call on the ministry’s proposal to approach the CCS.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Sep 04, 2019, 10.29 AM IST
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NEW DELHI: The home ministry may soon ask the Cabinet Committee on Security to divest the Army of operational control over Assam Rifles (AR), the nation’s oldest para-military force which guards the Indo-Myanmar border. The Centre will also make its stand clear before the Delhi high court on Wednesday in a plea filed by an AR ex-servicemen welfare association that wants the court to direct the government to hand over control of the force to the defence ministry.

According to government insiders, home minister Amit Shah has to take a call on the ministry’s proposal to approach the CCS. At the moment, MHA has only administrative control.

During the UPA-II regime in January 2013, MHA prepared a draft for CCS proposing AR be replaced with BSF on the Myanmar border and transferring AR’s operational control to MHA. MoD seconded the first part of the proposal but wanted the Army to retain operational control. The tussle between the two ministries to gain complete control over AR began with the decision to bestow Army operational control after the 1962 China war. Three years later, MHA had just administrative hold over the force. The Assam Rifles was formed in 1835 as ‘Cachar Levy’ to guard the alluvial plains of Assam against tribes.

On Wednesday, the home ministry and CCS may explain the March 20 CCS note in the HC. As home secretary Rajiv Gauba had told the court in an affidavit that the CCS note was to resolve the “issue of dual control over Assam Rifles.” It was decided that both the ministries shall abide by the CCS decision, Gauba’s affidavit had said.

The petitioner in the case, general secretary of Assam Rifles Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association, VT Nair, told ET that he had learnt “MoD could not prepare its own CCS note and that's why the matter never came up for deliberations before the CCS during the previous regime.” Nair added, “the MHA is not competent to handle AR which draws its officers from the Army till the director-general who heads the para-military force.”

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