Assam ban on civilians in battle fatigues
The Assam government has barred civilians from wearing olive green battle fatigues donned by Army and paramilitary forces personnel, reports Rahul Karmakar.india Updated: Aug 03, 2007 15:14 IST
The Assam government has barred civilians from wearing olive green battle fatigues donned by Army and paramilitary forces personnel engaged in counter-insurgency operations.
Though offsetting "ritualistic" subversion by militants on or before Independence Day is the reason cited, the ban is seen as a bid to prevent militants impersonating soldiers from molesting or sexually harassing women across Assam.
Militant groups such as the outlawed ULFA often strike before red-letter days, I-Day and Republic Day for instance. They, however, gave a different touch to their war against "occupational India" by allegedly dressing up as soldiers and sexually harassing women.
The last such incident was reported from Lezai Baruagaon in eastern Assam. "The ULFA used people who looked like typical soldiers and spoke Hindi to molest women and give us a bad name," a senior Army officer said.
In order to "call the ULFA bluff", Army and CRPF personnel posted in the area were paraded before the villagers. "The villagers could not identify a single soldier as the culprits who raped and molested at least a dozen women in that village," the officer added.
Though ULFA has denied targeting women was their new revolutionary strategy, the government has decided to take no chances and imposed the "dress-code" ban with effect from Wednesday across the state. "The ban is part of our security plan for August 15, but it may continue beyond the date," said RC Jain, Kamrup district magistrate.