The first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination is underway in the state though some reports said the turnout was less than expected, while the Statehood Day was observed during the week, and one Grenade was hurled at the heavily manned Governor’s Bungalow gate. The local farmers have also protested state laws against them.
1,783 Get Covid-19 Vaccination
In the first week of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, only 1,783 frontline health workers of Manipur have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
According to a report, the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare has identified 39,991 of the 41,000 frontline and healthcare workers to be vaccinated, and nearly 10,000 of them as first beneficiaries in the first phase of the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive that was launched in Manipur on January 16.
Reports said the Directorate of Health Services had earlier selected 246 health centres in the state for Covid-19 vaccination programme following the guidelines of the Health Ministry. Though the programme was launched across 10 centres in the state on day one, the Covid-19 vaccination programme was conducted only in 11 health centres (including one private hospital) so far.
The turnout for the vaccination was low because the majority of the frontline healthcare workers who have submitted their bio-data are in their reproductive ages, reports added.
Statehood Day Celebrated
The 50th Statehood Day of Manipur was celebrated at 1st Battalion Manipur Rifles Parade Ground on January 21.
Reports said Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren as chief guest of the celebrations wished the people of the state peace, unity and integrity. He also extended his gratitude and appreciation to people of the state for bagging top position among Northeast states in ‘India Innovation Index 2020’ conducted by NITI Aayog.
He also mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring ‘Manipur Powerhouse of Innovation and Sporting Talents’ is a proud moment for the state.
The Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren stressed that Manipur would be one of the best states in the country if government officials and leaders of the state fight corruption and avoid ‘sectoral’ or ‘communal’ mindset, reports added.
Grenade Hurled at Governor’s Gate
Miscreants hurled a hand grenade at Manipur Governor’s Gate in Imphal around 4 pm in Imphal on January 19.
Reports said the bomb did not explode and CRPF bomb experts posted at the Governor’s bungalow diffused the bomb and handed it over to City police for further necessary procedures. The CCTV camera footage showed that two persons in a moped came from Keishampat junction and hurled the grenade. They fled along the Asian Highway-2 towards Kangla Western gate.
State Farmers Protest Farm Laws
The Farmers Joint Action Committee Manipur on January 19 resolved to launch a state-wide campaign against the three new farm laws along with supporting the demands raised by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee against Farm Laws.
Reports said the resolution was taken during the ‘Manipur Farmers Meet’ organised by the Committee at Rup Mahal Theatre Imphal on January 19. It also prepared a charter of demands which will be submitted to the Chief Minister of Manipur and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The charter of demands includes providing agricultural services (fertilisers, diesel, electricity etc.) at a subsidised rate to the farmers in time and effective implementation of Conservation of Paddy land and Wetland Act, 2014 and to repeal Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland (Amendment) Act, 2019.
It also included repealing the Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006 and to compensate the Loktak Project affected farmers, implementing Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960 in toto in valley areas of the state.
The demands also included constituting of an Agricultural Produce Market Committee in the state, compulsory procurement of all agricultural goods by the government and expansion of agricultural lands and water bodies of the state.
Upgrading of existing dams in the state to facilitate agricultural areas and to protect migratory fishes by constructing fish ladders and passages and that no new dams should be constructed in the ecologically important region of Manipur were also included.
It also resolved to demand that the foothills region of Manipur should be declared as Community Forest Areas.
Poppy Drive Continues
While the “war on drugs” mission initiated by the Manipur government continues, a team of Narcotics and Affairs of Border (NAB) arrested a drug peddler from Oinam dam under the jurisdiction of Wangoi police station on January 21.
Reports said the arrested individual has been identified as Nongjaimayum Md Safiqur, 35, of Lilong, Thoubal district. The police team recovered 110 grams of heroin powder from the possession of Safiqur. A case has been registered at NAB police station for further investigation.
Meanwhile, a combined force comprising district police Chandel, NAB, NCB, 1st Manipur Rifles, 7th Manipur Rifles destroyed about 73 acres of poppy plants on January 20 along the western hill slopes of Thorcham village under the jurisdiction of Chakpikarong sub-division.
In another poppy destruction drive, a combined team of Manipur police assisted by police personnel of 3rd Indian Reserve Battalion and 2nd Manipur Rifles have destroyed around 54 acres of poppy plants at Molphai, Tengnoupal district.
For the running crop year, Manipur police have destroyed a total of 1947 acres of illegal poppy cultivation at various hill districts of Manipur, reports added.
Nine Discharged from Drug Case
Altogether nine persons who were named as accused in connection with seizure of WY tablets in 2019 have been discharged from the case by the Court of Special Judge (NDPS), Thoubal.
Reports said the persons discharged are Mohammad Hussain alias Thoiba, 32, of Thoubal Wangkhem, Kyaw Kyaw Niang alias Abdul Rahim, 33, from Myanmar, Md Ayub Khan, 41, of Yairipok Wangkhem, Md Abdul Rajaque, 35, of Yairipok Tulihal, Jhutan Malakar alias Jhuthan Malakar, 29, from South Tripura, Tanmoy Pal, 22, from North Tripura, Biman Das, 38, from West Tripura, Abdul Hashim, 42, from West Tripura and Sheikh Muhamed Ahnsan, 39, of Yairipok.
After perusing the report submitted by the IO, the Special Judge (ND&PS) observed that there are so many infirmities, loopholes and lacunae in the investigation of the case and asserted there is no sufficient ground to prosecute the accused persons.
The Court directed the authority concerned to return security deposits, if there is any and to return mobile phones, currency notes, etc. seized in connection with the case.
Accused Kyaw Kyaw Niang alias Abdul Rahim who is now languishing in jail should be released immediately, if not required in any other case, the Court ordered.
Arrested Journalists Released
Sadokpam Dhiren, editor-in-chief of Frontier Manipur, an Imphal based news web portal and its executive editor Aribam Dhananjoy popularly known as Paojel Chaoba were arrested on January 17 and charged under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in connection with the publication of an article in their web portal.
Reports said, after the intervention of the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) and Editors’ Guild Manipur (EGM), they have been released on January 18.
The police filed an FIR against the two journalists of the online portal and the author and charged them under IPC sections 120B (Criminal Conspiracy), 505(b) (Causing alarm to induce offence against the state) and 34 (Common intention) along with Section 39 (Supporting terror organisation) of the UAPA.
However, the same article was already published in two other evening publications – one English and another vernacular.