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Manipur Government is Taking One Step Forward and Two Steps Backward in its War on Drugs: AMSU President

The case of SI CDO of Imphal East by the name of Bheishamayum Debson Singh who was awarded the Chief Minister’s Police Medal for Gallantry for 2020, is now well known, An exposure by the All Manipur Students Union, AMSU, that man in question was arrested for trafficking drugs worth more than 3 crores in 2013. In a press release on 16th August 2020, AMSU had stated that “it may be recalled that on 28 April 2013 Sub-inspector Beishamayum Debson Singh of Singjamei Bheigyabati Leikai, Imphal East was arrested along with an 11- member team of the Manipur Police commando at Pallel on the way to Moreh carrying Respified Tablets and pseudophedrine tablets worth Rupees 3,64,02,000 in international market under an FIR number 62(4)2013 Kakching police station under section 21/29 of the ND&PS Act Arms Act”.

In response, The Government of Manipur has since withdrawn the award to the policeman and also instituted an inquiry into the matter.

FPSJ Review met up with the president of AMSU for an interview to get more information on the matter.

The excerpt from the interview:

FPSJ Review: “It was published on this week’s mainstream newspapers that Bheishamayum Debson Singh of Imphal East District (CDO), who was a recipient of Chief Minister’s Medal of Gallantry was caught in 2013 with drugs worth more than 3 crores. Talk to us about your in-depth view regarding this matter.”

Peter Laishram: “On 28th April 2013, 11 police personnel were travelling on a jeep to Moreh…to Pallel Police Station. They were caught with drugs worth more than 3 crores. Now we saw that this person, Bheishamayum Debson Singh, the sub-inspector was a recipient of the C. M’s gallantry award this August 15, 2020. After he was caught with these drugs, he was under investigation then how did he get promoted to even the post of sub-inspector? We were hopeful about our government with its initiation of anti-drugs award, but we were disappointed with the recent findings.”

FPSJ Review: “Recently on the news, we have read and seen about the issue about another drug racket gone awry regarding officer Brinda and now this… what are your views on that?”

Peter Laishram: “It seems like our government is taking one step forward and two steps backward regarding on how they are handling the war on drugs matter here…However, the most invaluable thing would be to work for it very transparently and efficiently. Therefore, we would like our government to enquire these 16 candidates for the gallantry award thoroughly because we believe that the most honest, the most diligent and the most efficient officer would be deserving of such an honorable award. If things keep being this way, then, it would be hard for people of our state to trust the government.”

FPSJ Review: “Do you believe that this happened because of pure negligence or what do you think?”

Peter Laishram: “According to the government, E. Roshan who is the Reader for the Imphal East Police Station has been suspended because he was the one who was responsible for putting the names up…however…these kind of drugs related records are there with them and in this case, a police was caught by another police, so the records must be definitely there in police custody, we believe. All these are happening amongst the police. Since there is minimum amount of transparency in the way these things are being handled, these problems are arising. We (AMSU) suspect that high ranking profile people must be involved otherwise the documents that are in home department’s knowledge has been denied then it definitely cause people to be suspicious…otherwise it was sheer negligence then, many others along with the Reader are also at fault because these things were not properly looked into or verified efficiently and they should take responsibility for that.”

FPSJ Review: “It is not a secret that hard-core drugs such as Heroine and WY are widely available in Manipur and are cheap too. Why do you think the situation of drugs are this way in Manipur?”

Peter Laishram: “Yeah…definitely… actually we have also been told that they are available through home delivery also now-a-days…honestly speaking, we would like to urge the ruling government to take very strong steps towards this war on drugs. Increasingly it is becoming difficult because the focus is gradually becoming our North-East states of India because of the presence of the drug route of the well known ‘Golden Triangle’. Until today, we know that many, many people have been caught with lots of amounts of drugs…but if you happen to visit the Sajiwa Jail or the Central Jail in Manipur, even tomorrow itself… we will see that some people are caught with some drugs worth 5 lakhs or 10 lakhs but we won’t see people being captured regarding drug trafficking in terms of drugs worth crores…these kind of things are evident and it gives rise to major suspicions about various things… all these things we see recently about drugs related news also show that some people are definitely valuing money more than people’s lives. To those people, it doesn’t matter if the youth of Manipur gets destroyed but they are only clearly concerned about getting rich. Within 2016-2019 itself, there are156 drugs related cases now but none of these cases’ court results are known whether those accused people have been convicted or not. The information about all these are enclosed. ‘War on drugs’ must be taken seriously because these drugs are killing the youth gradually like slow poison. The youth touched by these poisons (drugs) are in a dark place and the youth is the future of our state and we are sinking as a people, as a state… our state resembles Samdrembi’s mother who died, gradually and with great torment… I say this with disappointment that it feels like the boiling water has reached from our hips to our lips now…  we are just breathing and barely surviving…we can barely speak…”

FPSJ Review: “Anything else you would like to add?”

Peter Laishram: “Yes. Most recently we got a memorandum from the police regarding our request of enquiry into the suicide of ADGP Arvind Kumar who shot himself on 17 July 2020 only because that day there was a committee meeting for the selection of the gallantry award .AMSU would like to clarify that we are not accusing anyone of any misconduct. We appeal to the Government of Manipur to support us and the people of Manipur to find out the truth about all these matters.”

(Peter Laishram is the president of the All Manipur Students’ Union, Manipur.)

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