IMPHAL, May 9: Reacting to an IFP news report (May 6: CRPF assault on tanker driver results in quarrel), the IGP Manipur and Nagaland Sector HQ of the CRPF, Imphal has in a communiqué termed the allegations of the said driver as completely false and baseless without any substance. “The CRPF is engaged in escorting of IOCL/ NRL / Oil tankers and other trucks carrying essential supply for Manipur on NH-2( lmphal to Dimapur and back) for the last two years and nine months wef. 26/071201 wherein no incident of harassment, beating and abusing of truck drivers or any other persons associated with this convoy has been reported from any quarter,” it said. “The matter has been inquired from the Commandant 173 Bn CRPF, Dimapur, Nagaland under whose responsibility the IOCL/NRL/Oil tankers convoy operates from Khatkhati, Assam.”
The IFP story had detailed how the CRPF personnel who were to escort the tankers once they reached Khatkhati asked tanker drivers to bring in their relevant documents for checking, following which drivers and handymen went to the CRPF personnel who were doing the checking.
`The drivers were made to stand in a line for the verification of documents but one driver identified as Shiva of Khatkhati Gautam Basti who had sustained injury in an earlier accident could not stand and he sat down, said the report. On seeing him sitting, CRPF personnel came up to him and beat him up severely accusing of disrespecting them, the report said. Following the incident, the drivers had an altercation with the CRPF personnel and there was also a little push and pull between the two parties. Unhappy over the attitude of the CRPF personnel, the drivers had launched a protest of not touching the steering wheel of their respective trucks (IFP May 6 news report).
The communique said that the allegation is intended `to malign the clean and unblemished image of the force and also to disturb the oil transporter convoy so that black marketing of oil resulting due to shortage of petrol and diesel can be facilitated.
IFP stands by our news:
Following the communique, IFP got in touch with our source from the drivers union which has validated that there was indeed an altercation by CRPF personnel in which driver Shiva of Gautam Basti of Khatkati, who drives an oil tanker belonging to Muhindro of Khongman of Imphal East was physically assaulted following which, he has not been taken to the steering wheel.
Our source in the Union further pointed out that following the incident on the night of May 4, drivers had taken up a no steering wheel drive following which they had refused to head ahead from Khatkati following the incident on May 4. It was only after the said CRPF personnel sorted out the issue that oil tankers left for Imphal.