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A poppy field being destroyed by a police squad on a hillside in Manipur

Communities Pledge Against Poppy Plantation; Nurses Day Observed; Policeman Held in Drugs Case; MPCC Demands White Paper; Kotiswar Singh Appointed Acting CJ Gauhati HC

Different communities in Manipur have started supporting Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren’s War on Drugs by declaring their areas as Drug-Free and No Poppy Plantation Zones.

Even though one village in Ukhrul had earlier pledged to refrain from poppy cultivation, for the first time as a community, the Poumais have declared on May 7 that their area is drug-free zone and assured that poppy plantation will be stopped in Poumai areas. The Tangkhul groups also followed suit within a couple of days. The other communities who declared most recently their areas as drug-free zones and resolved to eradicate poppy plantations in their areas are Inpui, Liangmai, Rongmei and Zeme.

A huge delegation of the Poumai tribe, led by MLA of Karong AC J Kumo Sha, Poumai Naga Union President D Dailord Pao, Poumai Naga Women’s Union president P Delilah Pao and other CSO leaders submitted a resolution of the tribe declaring Poumai areas as Drug Free Zone to Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on May 7.

The decision of the Poumais to declare a Drug Free Zone and against poppy plantation was arrived at during the Poumai General Body Meeting held on April 28, 2022, reports added.

Significantly, apex bodies of Tangkhul community, including Tangkhul Wungnao Long (TWL), Tangkhul Shanao Long (TSL), Tangkhul Katamnao Long (TKL), Tangkhul Chief Association (TCA), and Churches Leaders on May 9 called on the chief minister at his secretariat in Imphal and gave their commitment and affirmation to participate in Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren’s declaration of war on drugs.

According to the apex bodies of Tangkhul community, there are around 2,500 Tangkhul villages inhabited in the state and total area of poppy cultivation taken up in Kamjong and Ukhrul districts is above 4,000 hectares.

Moreover, Joint Tribe Council (JTC) and Joint Tribe Students’ Association (JTSA) on behalf of the four cognate tribes of Inpui, Liangmai, Rongmei and Zeme on May 12 submitted a representation to Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren, supporting the state government’s War on Drugs Campaign by declaring their localities as ‘Drugs and Poppy Free Zones’.

The declaration stated that The Indigenous Four Cognate Tribes of Inpui, Liangmai, Rongmei and Zeme had never practiced poppy plantation nor been involved with any kind of illegal drugs since time immemorial.

“Following the sincere and righteous footsteps of our forefathers, the four Cognate Tribes of Inpui, Liangmai, Rongmei and Zeme reiterate our stand against illegal drugs and poppy plantations. The Joint Tribes also resolved to continue preserving, conserving the unadulterated forests, its resources and giving life a valuable living,” the declaration stated.

MPCC Wants Govt to Come Clean on 1,255 Work Programme

The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) has demanded a white paper for cancellation of a total 1,255 work programme under two different major heads after administrative approval was accorded for the financial year 2020-21.

MPCC President Keisham Meghachandra told media at its state office on May 10 located at BT Road that before the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly Election, during the past BJP-led government, a total of 1,225 work programmes under two different major heads were given administrative approval from PWD department during the financial year of 2021-21.

He said that among the two major head work programmes, a sum of Rs 562,44.76 lakhs was accorded for 660 plan work and a sum of Rs 106,23.74 s for 586 non-plan work. He said that during the past budget session of the previous government a total of Rs 668,68,50 lakhs budget for the work programme had already been passed on the assembly floor, reports said.

ADR Claims All Manipur MLA Candidates Spent Below Rs. 28 Lakhs

In sharp contrast to public knowledge and understanding about the election expenditures of the candidate in the last 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly Election 2012, the expenditures incurred by the candidates are very low even winning candidate spent less than four lakhs.

In an interesting report by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) on election expenditures, most candidates of the political parties spent less than Rs 23 lakhs and the Congress candidates spent more than the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Youth Collective Manipur (YCM), during a press conference held on May 9 at the Conference Hall of Human Rights Alert (HR) at Kwakeithel Thiyam Leikai in Imphal West, presented a detailed report of election expenditure statements. The report was published by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

“In sharp contrast to the popular perception of astronomical rise in election expenditure, the MLA election expenditure affidavits analysed by ADR shows a totally different picture. It is interesting to note that the lowest expenditure is stated to be incurred by Yumnam Radheshyam, MLA of Hiyanglam Assembly Constituency (AC), at just Rs 3,94,642/- and the highest expenditure stated to have been incurred by Sorokhaibam Rajen, MLA of Lamshang AC, at Rs 22,14,206/- “, said co-ordinator of People’s Election Monitoring (YCM), Thongam Zingo.

Instances of ministers /politicians rueing over the crores of rupees being spent during the election have kicked off controversies, but their expenditure statements show that they have all spent less than the upper limit of 28 lakh. YCM wishes to leave it to the public at large to reflect on the gap between the reality that we face on the ground and the pretension and hypocrisy of the system, said Zingo.

The expenditure limit for the candidates during the 12th Manipur Assembly Elections was Rs 28 lakhs. However, on an average each elected MLA spent more than Rs 13 lakhs but below the Rs 28 lakhs mark, state convenor YCM, Babloo Loitongbam informed.

According ADR Report, the five MLAs of the Congress party spent the highest of Rs 15.81 lakhs each while the 32 BJP MLAs spent Rs 14.57 lakhs each during the election campaigning. The average election expenditure for six MLAs from JD (U) was Rs 12.95 lakhs while the average election expenditure for five MLAs from NPF was Rs 10.77 lakhs. Each of the seven MLAs from NPP spent Rs 8.18 lakhs while the average for two MLAs of Kuki People’s Alliance (KPA) was Rs 13.23 lakhs. The three Independent MLAs have spent Rs 7.26 lakhs.

Out of the 60 MLAs analysed by ADR, 32 (53 per cent) MLAs have declared election expenses less than 50 per cent of the expense limit in their constituency.

Overall, based on the election expense declarations of the 60 MLAs, the average amount of money spent by them in the elections was Rs 13.04 lakhs, which was 47 per cent of the expense limit.

BJP candidate Sorokhaibam Rajen from Lamsang AC in Imphal West district of Manipur spent the highest amount of Rs 22.14 lakhs in his election campaign. Rajen was followed by Congress candidate from Wangkhem AC, Keisham Meghachandra who spent Rs 20.57 lakhs. Former Manipur chief minister and Congress candidate from Thoubal, Okram Ibobi spent Rs 20.55 lakhs in the election.

Among those who spent the least includes BJP’s Yumnam Radheshyam Singh from Hiyanglam who spent just Rs 3.94 lakhs in the elections. NPP candidate Janghemlung Panmei from Tamenglong (ST) spent Rs 4.8 lakhs while his party’s candidate from Kshetrigao AC, Sheikh Noorul Hassan spent a little over Rs 6 lakhs, according to the affidavits analysis by ADR.

Of the total MLAs, 32 of them have declared that they have spent funds on public meetings, processions etc. with star campaigners while 28 others have declared that they have not spent any funds on public meetings, processions etc. with star campaigners. All 60 MLAs have declared that they have spent funds on campaign vehicles.

Court Directs CBI to Submit Status Report of Babysana Death Case

The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Imphal West on May 11 directed SP, CBI-SCB, Kolkata to submit the status report of the reinvestigation into the mysterious death of Ningthoujam Babysana on or before May 30. Following the court’s direction for re-investigation into the cases, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had sought permission to unseal the sealed box received from the director, FSL Pangei and the court gave permission on March 28.

On March 31, 2021, the additional SP of Police CBI, SCB, Kolkata had filed the final report under section 173 CrPC in connection with the Babysana death case. In the final report, the IO submitted that chargesheet could not be submitted against the accused persons as no evidence emerged during investigation.

However, on April 28, 2021, an objection was filed by the father of the deceased protesting the final report submitted by the IO of the case along with a prayer and to direct the IO to further investigate the case especially by identifying the perpetrator of the crime by DNA profiling of the AB blood group found in the left middle finger of the deceased and to ascertain whether the Boarding owned by the accused, Ph Landhoni could be legally registered under Manipur Shop & Commercial Establishment Act, 1972.

The court on November 16, 2021 rejected the final report submitted by the CBI and directed the CBI to re-investigate the case. “It is assumed that some substantive progress would have been made by now in the re-investigation as more than five months has lapsed since the direction for re-investigation was issued”, the court stated.

Thirteen-year-old Babysana of Thangmeiband Imphal West, a hosteller of Standard Robarth School, Canchipur Imphal, was found hanging inside the hostel on July 18, 2019. Her death sparked controversy with family suspecting foul play in the girl’s death though post mortem suggests the cause of death due to asphyxia by hanging.

The JAC formed in the case had launched a series of agitation, including shutdowns, demanding the arrest of culprits involved in the alleged murder, bringing the state to a standstill on several occasions. The agitation stopped only after the government assured CBI inquiry into the incident.

Former UNLF Chairman Meghen Reiterates Need for Law to Root-Out Drug Menace

Former Chairman of banned United National Liberation Front (UNLF), RK Meghen aka Sanayaima reiterated the need to frame a law to enable sentencing the drug-traffickers to at least 20 years minimum without trial as a mechanism to root out the drug menace from Manipur.

Meghen was speaking to the media on the sideline of the International Mother’s Day observance as a chief guest which was organised by the Apunba Khorirolgee Malemgee Lup at Manipur Press Club in Imphal West on May 10.

Reports said Meghen pointed out that the state is completely drowning in the wave of drug culture where many youths at its very young ages had become drug abuse. Moreover, the drug business in the state is in a very advanced stage where facilities of the home delivery system have become available, he added.

Explaining that eradicating the issue of drug menace will be possible only when there is a collective participation of both the government and the general public, he said the government needs to have a political will and sincerity while the public need to give full support.

Regarding the rise of alcohol abuse in Manipur which is tagged as a dry state, Meghen said an intensive social mobilisation is needed in this issue.

The function was also attended by secretary of Yaibirel Trust Sarat Khaidem as president; Nupi Samaj president Th Ramani; LEIKOL president Ksh Subadani; Naharol Sahitya Premi Samiti president L Upendro and president of Historical and Culture Research Centre, Imphal Naoroibam Indramani as guests of honour.

N Kotiswar Singh Appointed as Acting Chief Justice of HC

Justice Nongmeikapam Kotiswar Singh has been appointed as the Acting Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court.

Justice Nongmeikapam Kotiswar, who is the senior most Puisne Judge of the Gauhati High Court, has been appointed to perform the duties of the office of the Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court with effect from the date Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia relinquishes the charge as the chief justice of the high court. Justice Dhulia has been appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court of India.

“In exercise of the power conferred by Article 223 of the Constitution of India, the President is pleased to appoint, Shri Justice Nongmeikapam Kotiswar Singh, senior most Puisne Judge of the Gauhati High Court, to perform the duties of the office of the Chief Justice of that High Court with effect from the date Shri Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia relinquishes the charge as Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court consequent upon his appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India,” a notification read.

Drugs Seized, Head Constable Among Three Arrested

In the biggest ever drug haul so far in Kangpokpi district and Manipur in 2022, Kangpokpi police on May 9 seized a huge quantity of suspected heroine number 4 worth Rs 31.80 crore in the international market as part of its steadfast stand on the ‘War against Drugs’ campaign.

Reports said a head constable of the Manipur police was arrested along with two others in connection with the drug seizure. The seizure was made on May 9  around 1.30 pm by a team of Kangpokpi police station led by SI Hemjamang Khongsai and SI Raju Singh under the direct instruction of OC Kangpokpi Inspector Sunil Kumar and overall supervision of Amrita Sinha SP Kangpokpi; Tholu Rocky, additional SP (LO); Abul Kalam, additional SP (Ops); Sheimang Khongsai, DSP Gamnom-Saparmeina Police Station while checking vehicles plying along the National Highway-2.

Reports, quoting SP of Kangpokpi, Amrita Sinha, said that during the frisking and checking the police team stopped one unregistered Honda City Car (Maroon colour) driven by Solensei Haokip (23), son of Thanglun Haokip of G Khonom village, Churachandpur district with one occupant Jamgoulen Haokip (21), son of Letthang Haokip of Kingkin village, Churachandpur district.

She also said that upon their disclosure, due formalities and Standard of Procedures of the ND&PS Act were observed by informing senior officers and the vehicle was duly searched in the presence of Puyam Rahuldev Singh, SDC (HQ), DC Kangpokpi as Executive Magistrate and independent witness of Kangpokpi Town Committee and Kangpokpi Youth Union which lead to the recovery of 212 number of soap cases containing suspected Heroine No.4 weighing 2.132 Kgs approximately valued about Rs 63,60,000 in the local market and Rs 31,80,00,000 in the international market.

According to the confession of the duo, they obtained the suspected Heroine No.4 from Lunminthang Haokip alias Mimin Taqchapa (33), son of (L) Holkholet Haokip of Kholmun village in Churachandpur district, who is serving as Head Constable of Manipur Police Department, reports added.

International Nurses Day 2022 obsrved

As observed globally, International Nurses Day was observed in Manipur too by various organisations.

Manipur Health Minister Sapam Ranjan on May 12 encouraged the healthcare workers, especially nurses to bear and politely handle the impatience of the attendants and families of patients as they are doing it out of stress.

He was speaking as the chief guest during the observance of ‘International Nurses Day 2022’ at IMA Hall in Imphal West. It was organised by All Manipur Community Health Officers’ Union (AMCHOU) under the theme, ‘Nurses: A voice to lead – Invest in Nursing and Respect Rights to Secure Global Health.’

Health Minister Dr. Sapam Ranjan highlighted the vital roles of the community health officers in strengthening the Health and Wellness Centres (HWC). The health of every individual in the state can be taken care of only when the HWCs are strengthened. Concerning the requirement for nursery care in the state, it is impossible for all patients to rush to RIMS or JNIMS, he said, adding that it is very important to strengthen the HWC to give good nursery care, reports said.

Manipuri Indigenous Culture, Tradition Will Be Included Under NEP

Manipur government will give emphasis on including the local context in educational syllabus under National Education Policy to promote Manipuri indigenous culture and tradition, Manipur Education Minister Thounaojam Basanta announced on May 13.

Reports said he was speaking at the felicitation of Padma Shri Awardee (2022) of Manipur and book release function held at the Central Hall of DM College of Science, Imphal.

Discipline in all fields is highly important in bringing development in the state besides education. Under the new National Education Policy, 30 per cent of local context could be included in the educational syllabus, he mentioned. With the inclusion of local context in educational syllabus, the indigenous culture and tradition of Manipur can be promoted, he added.

Names of Other Police Personnel Involved In Custodial Death of Arambam Nanao Revealed

Suspended SI Thokchom Jitendra, the main accused in the custodial death of Arambam Nanao, a goldsmith, has reportedly named an officer of the Manipur Police, who is also his batch-mate and another for their influenced in the arrest of the victim.

Reports said suspended Sub-inspector Jitendra was produced before the court on May 10 with a prayer of further police custody while the counsel of the alleged accused filed a bail application.

The IO of the case submitted that during interrogation, Jitendra admitted to have committed the offence and revealed that on the request of his batch-mate friend SI K Tejkumar Singh of CDO/IE as well as on receipt of the complaint report lodged by one Kangabam Jackey Singh, he arrested Nanao in civil dress and brought him to the police station with the help of others.

Following further submission by the Public Prosecutor, the court stated that a clear case of instigation of SI Tejkumar Singh attached with CDO, Imphal East could be made out as provided U/S 107 of IPC.

The IO of the case, however, submitted that SI K Tejkumar Singh of CDO/IE is out of station for medical treatment because of which he could not arrest SI. After considering the submission, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West remanded SI Jitendro into further police custody for seven days till May 16, reports added.

Smuggld Gold Worth Rs 8.38 Crore Seized

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on May 12 confiscated 15.93 kilogram of foreign-origin gold smuggled through the Indo-Myanmar border amounting to Rs 8.38 crore in Guwahati and Dimapur.

A PIB release said the smuggling was conducted by an organised gold smuggling syndicate, code-named ‘Gold on the Highway’ on two oil tankers and a truck which were travelling separately from Mao, Manipur.

It stated that acting on the basis of specific intelligence, officers of DRI mounted discreet surveillance on the two oil tankers and the truck, and they were intercepted simultaneously at different points along the national highway between Dimapur and Guwahati.

After intensive examination of the intercepted vehicles, 96 pieces of gold biscuits weighing a total of 15.93 kilograms that had been carefully concealed in different parts of the three vehicles were seized, it stated. Five persons of the syndicate have been arrested and further investigation is in progress, the release added

In the fiscal year 2021-22, the DRI has seized 833 kilogram of gold valued at Rs. 405 crore during its operations across the country, of which the North-Eastern states, DRI has seized more than 208 kilogram gold valued at Rs. 102.6 crore smuggled through the highly sensitive Indo-Myanmar and Indo-Bangladesh border, it mentioned.

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