Even as the fear of community transmission loomed large as more and more people with no travel history were tested positive for Covid-19 in the past week, the state government imposed complete lockdown again for at least one week with effect from 2 pm of July 23.
According to Covid-19 Common Control Room sources, the state’s Covid-19 tally has reached 2147 with 656 active cases. With 1491 having recovered from the disease the state’s recovery rate was 69.44 per cent as on July 24.
The state Cabinet on July 22 reviewed various issues relating to COVID-19 including spread of infection in Manipur and decided to impose complete lockdown in the entire state till July 30.
However, local retail shops dealing with essential commodities like groceries for daily use, vegetables, fruits, milk booths, poultry meat and fish will be open in all the districts of the state from 6 am to 10 am on all days except Sundays.
The complete lockdown may be extended for another week after considering the developing situation, sources said.
BJP Observers Visit State
Meanwhile, two observers sent by the BJP Central leaders arrived in Imphal on July 23 to resolve the issue of some of the BJP legislators demanding removal of Nongthombam Biren from the post of Chief Minister.
The observers, BJP National vice-president Baijayant Panda and former Union Minister Manoj Sinha, held meetings with two BJP Ministers and some BJP MLAs at Classic Grande one after the other. They asked the State BJP legislators whether they are in favour of changing the incumbent leadership or not. The observers also sought reasons from the legislators for their choice, sources said. They held one to one meetings with the BJP MLAs over a period of 48 hours till July 24.
Four of the BJP ministers who recently returned from New Delhi are reportedly undergoing home quarantine, but two of them met the observers on July 24. However, what response the BJP ministers and MLAs gave to the two Central observers could not be ascertained.
CM Files Damage Suits
Manipur Police Service (MPS) officer Thounaojam Brinda’s allegation that Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren pressured her to release drug kingpin Lhukhosei Zou and the consequent defamation case and damage suit filed by Nongthombam Biren against her continued to occupy front page news for much of the week.
In response to a criminal contempt case filed by DIG Manipur, Themthing Ngasangva against the chief editor and publisher of the local daily The Morning Bell for publishing an affidavit allegedly submitted by former additional SP NAB Thounaojam Brinda, the chief editor and publisher of the daily said the affidavit was received from Brinda, who in turn said the affidavit, that sparked a huge controversy surrounding the CM and top police officers, was given to the chief editor and publisher of the Morning Bell daily only for the purpose of reading.
The case was heard in the court of the division bench which allowed the chief editor, publisher Laimayum Basanta Sharma and Thounaojam Brinda three weeks’ time to file their respective affidavits and listed the matter for August 17.
In another development in connection with Brinda’s affidavit, Civil Judge Senior Division, Imphal East, Y Somorjit on July 22 issued an order restraining Thounaojam Brinda from making any unsubstantiated and ex-facie defamatory statement either orally, or by way of reporting and republishing the imputation or allegation, in connection to the original damage suit filed by Chief Minister.
Further, the publisher of local daily The Morning Bell Laimayum Basanta Sharma, and its editor Rounder Alexander; publisher of vernacular daily Sanaleibak Longjam Shyamananda, and its editor Hemanta Kumar Ningombam; the publisher of The New Indian Express GS Vasu, and its editor Rajesh Kumar; staff correspondent of The New Indian Express Prashanta Majumdar; Facebook Inc. through its CEO, Google Inc. through its CEO, YouTube LIC through its CEO are restrained from further speaking, publishing, writing any defamatory comments or contents to the imputation, in connection to original damage suit by chief minister for publishing an article without verifying the correctness.
Brinda had in an affidavit implicated the CM and top police officers of mounting pressure on her to release Lhukhosei Zou, former ADC Chandel, who was arrested with drugs worth around Rs. 28 crore in the international market.
Just a day after Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren filed a defamation suit against MPS officer Thounaojam Brinda and 11 others before the Civil Judge Senior Division Imphal East, a caveat was filed before Session Judge Imphal East on July 23.
Reports say that M Rarry, Additional AG Manipur filed the caveat against Thounaojam Brinda along with the order passed by Civil Judge Senior Division, Imphal East on July 22 in connection with the defamation suit.
Newly sworn-in MP of Rajya Sabha from Manipur Leishemba Sanajaoba has been appointed Member of Parliamentary Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Sanajaoba was sworn in as Rajya Sabha MP on July 2 and called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 22 at New Delhi along with the other RS members. Sources informed that Narendra Modi gave a detailed introduction of Leishemba Sanajaoba to the fellow newly elected Rajya Sabha members.
Sanajaoba also made a courtesy call on BJP National general secretary BL Santosh. The newly elected MP also held a brief meeting with BJP National president JP Nadda in the evening of July 23 and talked about the present political situation in Manipur. He also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the afternoon of July 24.