Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

Chief minister, N. Biren Singh, holding consultations with officials
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Curfew in 7 State Districts, Journalists to get Vaccinated on Priority, and Covid Patient Cremated without Family Knowing

Strict orders are to be followed for curfew in seven districts of the state till May 17 in view of the alarming Covid-19 situation, while Covid tests are no more required for those who have already tested positive once, and journalists in the state will be vaccinated for Covid on priority basis. Also, in a bizarre incident a Covid patient who passed away at JNIMS was cremated without knowledge of the family members.

Curfew in 7 Districts to Contain COVID-19

With 600 Covid-19 positive cases in a single day and 13 deaths on another day, the Manipur government in the late hours on May 7 has announced curfew in seven districts of the state namely Imphal West, Imphal East, Bishnupur, Thoubal, Kakching, Churachandpur and Ukhrul districts till May 17.

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren gave authorisation for curfew in a meeting held via video conferencing attended by DCs, SPs, CMOs of different districts and doctors of RIMS, JNIMS and COVID Care Centres.

The order also listed the permitted activities such as all healthcare facilities, including animal healthcare, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and movement of healthcare workers. All pharmacies, including those selling veterinary medicines are permitted, it stated. All persons going for COVID-19 vaccination, Covid testing and medical emergencies are exempted.

All employees and personal staff working in Media, Power, Fire Service, PHED, CAFPD, Home, Health, Relief and DM, Police departments and district administration are exempted (all other offices to remain closed).

Only good vehicles, oxygen supply related vehicles, LPG and Oil tankers and vehicles or other essential service like power supply, fire service, water supply, waste/garbage clearance, public distribution system, medical/Covid services, electronic and print media, internet and telecom service providers and vehicles of personnel of departments/ organisations permitted are to be functional.

Opening of petrol pumps and LPG outlets and movement of staff of IOCL will continue to be permitted, the order stated.

Imphal Airport shall remain open and movement of staff and passengers will continue to be permitted, it stated. Hotels for lodgings will be allowed to remain open with minimum staff, the order further stated; adding restaurants are to remain closed.

For other parts of the state, instructions issued vide order No H-1601/6/2020-HD dated May 6 will apply until further orders.

New Guidelines for COVID-19 Testing

The Indian Council of Medical Research has issued new guidelines for COVID-19 testing amid a spurt of coronavirus cases in the country. According to the new guidelines issued on May 4, people who tested positive for COVID-19 once either by Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or RT-PCR must not be tested again.

Reports quoting ICMR statement said that India has a total of 2506 molecular testing laboratories.

“The need for RT-PCR test in healthy individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travel may be completely removed to reduce the load on laboratories. No testing is required for COVID-19-recovered individuals at the time of hospital discharge,” it added.

COVID-19 Patient Cremated Without Informing Family

In a shocking incident, the body of a 78-year-old Covid patient, who died at Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Science (JNIMS) in Imphal on May 5, was cremated allegedly without the knowledge of his family members.

The deceased, Warepam Jugindro, 78, who was a resident of Imphal East, was admitted to JNIMS on Monday after he tested positive for Covid-19. He passed away in the wee hours of Wednesday. He was an awardee of Sahitya Akademi Bal Puraskar and was teaching Manipuri at Modern College, Imphal.

Reports said the body of the deceased was missing when Jugindro’s family members came to receive it to perform the last rites.

“When the staff denied any knowledge about the body, we had to look out for it. Later, it was found out that his body has been cremated at Imphal Municipal Corporation (IMC) Crematorium at Minuthong, Imphal,” a family member said.

JNIMS Director Dr Th Bhimo said a probe would be carried out soon.

Engagement of Dr Rajo as Director Cancelled

The Manipur Government on May 6 has cancelled the contract agreement between the State Health department and Dr K Rajo Singh for his engagement on contract basis to hold the charge for post of director of Medical and Health Services with immediate effect.

However, not long after the cancellation order, a subsequent order said Dr. K Rajo Singh, the ex-Director of Health Services has been re-engaged as Director of Health Services, Manipur on contract basis with immediate effect.

The Deputy Secretary (Health & FW), Soiminlian Lengen has in an order from the Secretariat, Health Department, said that the reappointment has been made in view of the urgency due to the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic. The engagement is subject to ex post facto approval of the State Cabinet, the order stated.

VDF Welfare Extends Financial Aid

A financial aid of Rs. 2 lakhs was extended to the wife of (Late) Md Shahabuddin on May 3 by the Thoubal District VDF Welfare Association.

Reports said Md Shahabuddin was a VDF personnel posted at Babu Bazar in Thoubal district. He died due to an illness on April 16. The monetary assistance has been provided to the wife of the deceased. The VDF welfare association also provided financial help to five VDF personnel posted at Thoubal district, who are undergoing medical treatment due to illness and injuries.

HC Dismisses Appeal Against Lhukhosei Zou

The High Court of Manipur on May 6 dismissed a miscellaneous case filed by members of ‘3.5 Collective’ against former ADC chairman of Chandel District, Lhukhosei Zou and six others and the state government.

Reports said the petitioners were seeking grant of special leave to appeal against the judgment dated December 17, 2020 passed by the Special Court NDPS, Imphal. The NDPS Special Court in its judgement had acquitted Lhukhosei Zou and six others.

The court also stated that the law does not permit the private individuals like the petitioners, who are not victims or informants, to carry an appeal against the acquittal judgment.

Safe Passage for 7 Myanmar Nationals

The Manipur High Court on May 3 directed the State and Central governments to ensure safe passage for seven Myanmar nationals to New Delhi, so that they could avail suitable protection under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Reports said the seven Myanmar nationals include three journalists of Mizzima and their family members, including three minors.

A division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Lanusungkum Jamir passed the judgment in response to a petition filed by a human rights advocate Nandita Haksar.

Priority Vaccination for Journalists

Amid the unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases in the state, the Manipur government has decided to declare all accredited working journalists in the state as Covid frontline warriors. The state government will now vaccinate the journalists against COVID-19 on priority.

“This Government recognises the work that working journalists perform to collect and disseminate news. The risk they put into their personal safety during the COVID-19 pandemic is no less than other frontline workers. In recognition of all the entire accredited working journalist as Frontline Covid Warriors, the State Government will now vaccinate all the journalists on top priority. Please stay safe and continue to serve the people with same vigour as you have always been doing,” Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren said in a Facebook post in the late hours of May 5.

No Press Conferences at Press Club

The All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) and the Editor’s Guild Manipur (EGM) in view of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect media personnel from the dreaded virus on May 5 has resolved to issue several ‘Dos and Don’ts’ which include banning of all press meets, conferences, and public gathering at Manipur Press Club for the time being.

It requested all organisations and individuals wishing to hold or release press statements to self-record and send the press release, statement or video clips through electronic means via email or at the WhatsApp number of respective individual’s media firms or to the authorised given WhatsApp number 8259860539 and e-mail: amjwu1974@gmail.com.

Students SOS CM on COVID-19

Manipur student bodies based in Delhi have requested Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren for medical assistance in Delhi and NCR in view of the deadly second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A joint statement of Manipur Students’ Association, Delhi (MSAD), Naga Students’ Union, Delhi (NSUD) and Kuki Students’ Organisation, Delhi & NCR (KSOD&NCR) on May 7 requested the Chief Minister to provide 20-30 oxygen cylinders and others essential medical provisions at Manipur Bhavan for emergency cases; one ambulance/vehicle to be stationed at Bhavan House for emergency response, reports said.

AMSU Bans Low Quality Construction

The All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) banned all construction works at Phundrei High School, under Wangjing Tentha Assembly Constituency in Thoubal District after the student body found the ongoing construction of hostels for boys and girls, and staff quarters not maintaining quality.

Reports said the AMSU human resource development secretary Mani Ningthoujam told media person on May 7 that as part of the student body’s “Campaign for Total Education”, a team of the student body inspected the ongoing construction at Phundrei High School and found low quality of work. Since the structures pose a threat to the students and teachers in event of natural calamities like earthquakes, the construction work has been banned, he added.

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