HRI puts spotlight on false AR recruitment

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IMPHAL, March 19: The Executive Director of Human Rights Initiative (HRI), Wahengbam Joykumar Singh has alleged that a 17 year old youth from Ukhrul district was misused in the name of army recruitment by some personnel of the 5th AR post, Maram in collusion with some agents and looted at Hyderabad.

During the press meet at the HRI office, the youth who requested for his name to be kept anonymous  said that in August 2012, a notification about the army recruitment was displayed at the school notice board of Maram Don Bosco School at Senapati district. He alleged that thereafter, some local army personnel in full uniform visited the school campus in an armored vehicle and interacted with students who are interested to join the Indian Army. Some of the students took the application forms and filled them up and submitted the same to them at the school campus.

He also applied for as one of the candidates of the said army recruitment and after two/three weeks, he received a message through his cell phone that informed him to visit the 5th AR at Maram for collecting information about the recruitment rally. The recruitment procedure like physical measurement and health check up was done at the said camp. He was allocated a chest number bearing 5952 and informed that a calling letter of the recruitment would be sent to his residential address at Ukhrul district. The youth further maintained that in December 2012 when he returned back home for vacation, he found his calling letter of army recruitment which was sent in October 2012. Two mobile numbers 09603996966 and 09603996868 were also written on the calling letter as contact numbers of the `Army`. He further alleged that the call letter mentioned a sum of Rs 10,469 as recruitment fee and said that he did not respond to it thinking that it was quite late.

In the meantime on March 7, 2013 the local daily `AJA` published that those candidates who received the call letter should contact Keithelmanbi for further information. Accordingly, he rang up at the mobile numbers on March 9, 2013 and was informed that he would still be allowed to report at Hyderabad Army Defense Academy as soon as possible along with the amount of money mentioned in the calling letter, he said.

He continued that he left for Hyderabad by a direct flight via Kolkata on March 11, 2013 and stayed that night with one Pastor Chihanpam at Road No. 11, Gourishanker Colony, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad 500034, near Sai Baba Temple. On the next day when he visited the Hyderabad Army Defense Academy, the gate of the campus was locked and it seemed that nobody was there.

The youth continued that when he rang up at the number given in the call letter, the person who responded to the call asked him to come to Hama Gonda after taking a bus from the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Stand. After reaching the bus stop, he was picked up on a bike by an unknown person who he thought was one of the officials of the Army Recruitment. On their way, he was asked for the amount of money mentioned in the calling letter and of his planning to return back to Manipur, he added.

On the request of the person, he showed all the documents including the call letter, flight ticket and passport photo which were taken away after which the person insisted that an amount of  Rs 7000 be given as fees. He refused to pay the amount saying that did not have the amount and needed to draw the same from an ATM booth.

Recollecting that he somehow managed to escape, the youth said that he reached Imphal on March 16, 2013 with the help of the pastor.

At the press conference today, Joykumar urged that the authority concerned should take up an impartial, prompt and independent investigation to ascertain the facts of the incident and thereafter should punish those errant officials and persons involved. Moreover the expenditure incurred for going to Army Defence Academy, Hyderabad should be refunded, he said.  He also pointed out that  the security forces should abide by the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act while dealing with such cases. A complaint regarding the case will be lodged to OC of Jessami Police Station, he added.

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