The Manipur government takes the unusual step of imposing indefinite night curfews throughout the state in the hope of containing COVID spread, this despite the state hardly has a night life. The surprising step has also come after a free for all public campaign by political parties in byelections to five assembly constituencies earlier this month. Else, the Manipur media once again resorted to the extreme step of suspending services collectively in protest against unwarranted pressures on them by a militant group regarding the publication of press statements by factions within the organisation.
Night Curfew has been imposed in Manipur upto December 31 as COVID-19 Surges
Night curfew from 6pm to 4am has been imposed in the entire state of Manipur with immediate effect from November 27 upto December 31 or till further order by an order of the Manipur Home Department issued on November 27.
The action has been taken following the notification issued by the Union Home Ministry allowing local restrictions to be enforced in State and Union Territories in view of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in some States and UTs.
However, the movement of essential services, goods trucks, official on duty and opening of hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, dispensaries, chemists and pharmacies shall be exempted from the purview of the curfew, said he order issued on November 27 by Manipur Chief Secretary Rajesh Kumar.
Social and customary ceremonies should be organised for family members only and in case if some other persons are required to attend the ceremony, the size of the gathering should be restricted to 20 individuals only, the order added. It may be mentioned that this is the season packed with festivals and marriage ceremonies where a large number of people gather.
The order further stated that the opening of shops in Thangal Bazar and Paona Bazar except the wholesale shops should be as per the roaster given by the government.
Manipur Prepares for COVID-19 Vaccination
Manipur Government has begun preparations for COVID-19 Vaccination. Line listing of health care workers in 138 government health facilities and 108 private health facilities are completed and coverage of other front line workers will be taken up as advised by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare from time to time. This has been disclosed to the media by the principal secretary of Health Vumlunmang during the third weekly press briefing on COVID-19 update on November 27 at the Directorate of Health Services, Lamphel.
Reports said a team of the Ministry visited the state and interacted with RIMS, JNIMS, district hospitals and several health care providers. The suggestions given by the central team for strengthening coordination and other important suggestions will be implemented promptly, Vumlunmang added.
He also announced that an expert committee will be constituted to fix a reasonable price for testing of COVID-19 in all the testing centres in the state.
Vumlunmang also reiterated that to estimate Sero-prevalence of anti-bodies as a tactics of combating the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government has decided to conduct Sero-surveillance from November 30 till December 19 in four districts two each in hill and valley.
As many as 4,600 households will be selected an individual from each household will represent their respective households.
The principal secretary further stated that the surveillance will help in estimation of Sero-prevalence of antibodies to COVID-19 in the general population by age and sex and also help in estimation of asymptomatic or subclinical infections.
“By understanding this, it can inform public health responses and guide policy decisions for prevention and control of COVID-19 in the state”, he added.
Director of Health and Family Welfare Dr K Rajo also informed that the Health department recruited 100 doctors, 150 nurses, and 100 multitasking staffs and further the department is in the process to recruit another 150 doctors, 150 nurses, 150 multi-tasking staff, and 20 ambulance drivers for fighting the COVID-19.
Myanmar Releases 34 Indian Nationals
Thirty four Indian nationals who were serving jail term in Myanmar in different cases were released by the Myanmar government and handed over to Manipur on November 26. They were deported through Tamu-Moreh border in Tengnoupal district of Manipur. Four of them are females and 30 are males and most of them are from Manipur.
Reports say that 32 of them were civilians who were detained mostly for traveling beyond the free movement regime without proper documents. While the State was only facilitating the receiving and hand over, the deportation process was done at the Union Ministry level. The civilians were handed over to their respective families.
The Indian side also deported as many as 28 Myanmar Nationals to Myanmar authority at the same border point.
The Myanmar nationals were arrested or detained from different places of India. Eight are transported from Nagaland, 19 are from Assam and one from Mizoram. They were all arrested under the Foreigners Act.
Nationwide General Strike Against New Farm Laws Observed in Manipur too
The nationwide general strike jointly called by various Indian trade unions and independent organisations on November 26 against new farm laws and labour laws made by the BJP-led NDA Government affected normal activities of various offices in Manipur too.
Speaking to the media at Irawat Bhawan, chairman of Coordinating Body of Trade Unions, Manipur, Laishram Sotinkumar said instead of promoting development in the country, the new laws will promote neo-liberalism which will affect farmers and laymen.
Reports said that normal life was crippled as many offices of the state such as banks, post office, insurance, BSNL stop services due to the general strike.
Inter-state bus service, van service, auto services ceased. Workers of organised and unorganised sector, street vendors do not perform daily activities. Many shops were closed down and people hardly came out for shopping, reports added.
Manipur Media Suspends Publication in Protest Against Militant Pressure
The media fraternity in Manipur staged a day-long sit-in protest in Imphal November 26. The protest called for respect to the freedom of Press and urged insurgent groups in the state against intimidating the media.
The protest held in front of the Manipur Press Club, Imphal was jointly organised by the All Manipur Working Journalist Union (AMWJU) and Editors Guild Manipur (EGM).
Cable and television channels went off air and newspapers halted publication in Manipur for two days beginning on the evening of November 24. There were no print editions of any of the dailies published in the state on November 25 and 26.
Reports say that the decision to hold the protest against the pressures in connection with the coverage of Annual Statement of a particular insurgent group was taken by the All Manipur Working Journalist Union (AMWJU) and Editors Guild Manipur (EGM) in a joint meeting convened late November 24. The AMWJU and EGM then decided to cease publication indefinitely in protest against the pressure mounted on media houses by a certain insurgent group for the publication of the news related to the group.
However, before the holding of the protest on November 26, an emergency general body meeting was held at the Press Club, Imphal, and the media fraternity unanimously resolved to resume publication from November 26 evening. The meeting also decided not to entertain any news relating to the particular outfit until their internal crisis was resolved.
CBI Registers Case Against RIMS Chief Accounts Officer
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB), Imphal has registered a case against Chief Accounts Officer cum Financial Advisor, Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Imphal Elangbam Debendro Meitei u/s 13 (2) r/w 13 (1) (b) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 (as amended in 2018) for alleged possession of disproportionate assets.
Reports say, a team of CBI Officers of Imphal Branch carried out searches on November 26 at the official quarter (Type-V/15), RIMS as well as at the office premises of the accused Elangbam Debendro Meitei on the strength of search warrants issued by the Special Judge, Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act), Imphal West.
According to sources, hard cash of Rs 1.31 lakh, gold ornaments worth Rs 23 lakh, Bank Pass books and other incriminating documents showing construction of two RCC buildings i.e. one RCC G+2 already completed and another RCC G+2 under construction at Thangmeiband Lairenhanjaba Leikai, Imphal, purchase of one Honda JAZZ care, one Fascino Motor cycle, investments in Banks, Insurance Company and other financial institutions and luxurious household articles were recovered during the searches.
It is said that Elangbam Debendro joined service at RIMS as Chief Accounts Officer cum Financial Advisor in February, 2005 and working till date in the same capacity.
Elangbam Debendro Meitei was also involved in one CBI case RC.6A2014-IMP for the fraudulent and dishonest purchase of Dental Chairs at exorbitant rates. He was charge sheeted in the said CBI case which is now under trial in the Court of Ld Special Judge (PC Act), Imphal West, reports added.
One Arrested and Drugs Seized
A team of Bishnupur District police commando arrested a person and seized 46 boxes of suspected heroin weighing about 644 grams during a search operation. The search operation was conducted November 26 at about 5 am following a tip-off from a reliable source that a large consignment of the heroin was going to be transported from Sangai Yumpham to Churachandpur area in an i20 car.
Reports say the police team conducted the search operation at the residence of one Md Ibungo, 33, son of Md Amadali, located at Sangai Yumpham Nungphou Bazar Mamang Leikai of Thoubal district.
During the search operation, one i20 car, silver in colour without any registration number was found parked in the house compound. The suspected heroin was found concealed inside the body chassis of the said car.
Ibungo was arrested by the police team led by sub-inspector Jhonny and Gyanendra under the supervision of the additional superintendent of police (Ops), Bishnupur.