In view of the wide prevalence of Delta Variant of the Coronavirus in the state and considering the need of taking up stringent measures to break the chain of transmission, Manipur Government imposes total curfew for 10 days in the entire State of Manipur with effect from July 18 to July 27.
The total curfew was earlier announced in a public notice issued on July 15 by V. Vumlunmang, Principal Secretary (Health), Government of Manipur before the State Home Department issued the order of total curfew.
On July 16, the Chief Secretary Dr. Rajesh Kumar who is also the Chairman of the State Executive Committee, Government of Manipur had issued the order of the Home Department imposing total curfew for 10 days in the entire state of Manipur with effect from July 18 to July 27.
However, the essential activities/services related to vaccination, COVID testing, medical services (hospital, clinic/pharmacies), water supply, power supply, Police, telecom/internet service, air travel, agriculture/ horticulture, garbage clearance, petrol pumps, LPG distributors and goods trucks allowed according to both the public notice issued by the Health Department and the order issued by the Home Department.
The order also stated that the essential and key departments of the Government shall continue to function with minimal staff as considered by the Administrative Secretary/Head with emphasis on e-office/work from home.
Surprisingly, print and electronic media which have been allowed to carry out their duties as COVID-19 warrior before was not included in the essential activities/services mentioned in both the public notice issued on July 15 and the Home Department order issued on July 16. The order of the Home Department also supersedes the order of curfew issued on July 9.
The media persons discussed the matter in their WhatsApp groups. It was reported that the President in-charge of the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) while replying to reporters in the WhatsApp group said that state authority had stated that media persons comes under essential services.
However, on the evening of July 16 the Chief Secretary and Chairman of the State Executive Committee issued another order stating that in his capacity as the Chairperson, the State Executive Committee of the State Disaster Management Authority, hereby also allows activities relating to Print and Electronic Media.
Pearsonmun in Churachandpur District Becomes First Fully Vaccinated Village in Manipur
Pearsonmun village in Churachandpur district of Manipur with 1,600 eligible people for COVID-19 vaccination in the age group of above 18 years, as per electoral roll, became the first village to get fully vaccinated in the state.
Reports said the village has unlocked the self-lockdown which was imposed by the Village Level Task Force (VLTF) when more than 40 people tested positive for COVID-19 in May. Officials of Pearsonmun village VLTF, led by YPA Pearsonmun Unit, expressed their gratitude to the district administration and vaccination team of the health department in making the entire village fully vaccinated. The last vaccination programme was held on the morning of July 10 at the office of YPA Pearsonmun Unit.
Anti-Repression Day Observed in Manipur
Several women activists observed Anti-Repression Day in Manipur on July 15 remembering the 12 Meira Paibis nude of protest in front of Kangla in 2004 against the alleged atrocities by the security forces and demanding the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.
However, in view of the COVID-19 restrictions and ongoing curfew in the state, the observations were held at different places in low key affairs.
Reports said the Anti-Repression Day was observed at Kha Nongpok Apunba Nupi Lup, Ima Kondong Lairembi Haraobung, Moreh; Jiri Ima Meira Paibi Apunba Lup (JIMPAL), Conference Hall, Jiribam; Thoubal Ima, Charangpat Thoubal; Apunba Nupi Lup (ANUL), Bishnupur; Nongpok Leingak Conference Hall Wangkhei, Imphal East; NIMPAL Office Conference Hall, Khwai Brahmapur, Uripok; All Manipur Social Reformation and Development Samaj, Lamphel; Tammi Chingmi, Yambem Leikai, Uripok.
However, the main function was organised by Apunba Manipur Kanba Ima Lup (AMKIL) at Human Rights Alert (HRA), Conference Hall in Kwakeithel, Imphal. The observation was live streamed on the Facebook page of HRA.
During the function, a short video titled ‘Ema Tara-Nithoi: The Spirit of Defiance’ Episode 1: Ema Momon was released. It is learnt that a total of 12 episodes, depicting the lives of the 12 brave mothers will be released every month till the next anniversary.
The activists said the personnel of the 17 Assam Rifles garrisoned at Kangla, the old palace in the heart of the Imphal city, had arrested a young girl on July 11, 2004 from her house at Bamon Kampu in Imphal East district. Charged with being a member of a proscribed underground organisation, she was allegedly tortured and “gang-raped”. It was alleged she was later taken out of the camp and shot dead. One woman activist said, “The girl was in her parents’ home, helping them by weaving handloom clothes.”
On July 15, 2004, 12 women activists assembled in front of Kangla where the 17 Assam Rifles garrisoned, removed their clothes and unfurled two big banners with the words, “Indian Army Rape Us” and “Indian Army Take Our Flesh”.
The defiant act of the Meira Paibi leaders triggered a massive public protest in Manipur against the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA). Months of sustained civil disobedience movement were calmed down only when the then Prime Minister of India promised to replace AFSPA with a more humane act.
The ‘disturbed area’ status under AFSPA was lifted from seven assembly constituencies of greater Imphal and the historic Kangla fort was handed over to the people of Manipur after more than a century of military occupation, following the historic protest of the 12 mothers.
With the observance of Anti-Repression Day every year, the mothers hoped that the moral pressure of the historic Kangla protest reaches all the forces of repression and continues to be an inspiration to all the women fighting for justice and equality.
They still stand firmly on their vision of a healthy Manipur and continue to be deeply concerned at the menace of drugs and narcotics, affecting every section of society, the observation committee stated.
Ima Momon Passed Away
One of the 12 mothers who protested in front of Kangla on July 15, 2004 in protest against the alleged atrocities by the security forces and demanding the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 had passed away on July 16.
Soibam Ongbi Momon Leima, popularly known as Ima Momon, President of All Manipur Tammi Chingmi Apunba Nupi Lup, had passed away at JNIMS on July 16. She was 70. Ima Momon, a resident of Uripok Polem Leikai, Imphal West was at the forefront of different campaigns and movements on political or social issues, including the Anti Drugs Movement in the state. She joined Tammi Chingmi Apunba Nupi Lup in 1993.
Reports of Operation Blue Bird and Murder of Monoroma
Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association (EEVFAM) observed its 12th foundation day in a simple function held at the conference hall of Human Rights Alert (HRA), Kwakeithel in Imphal on July 11 by observing the COVID protocol.
On the occasion of the 12th foundation day of EEVFAM, the Chief Guest of the function Ms Meenakshi Chanambam released a book entitled The 11th July: A Compilation of Reports Pertaining to Operation Bluebird and Murder of Manorama.
Notably, the two most gruesome incidents of the human rights violations which triggered massive people’s resistance in Manipur occurred on the same day of 11 July.
A statement of EEVFAM noted that the armed forces of the Assam Rifles camp stationed at Oinam village, Senapati district unleashed a reign of terror on the nearby villagers in retaliation to an earlier NSCN attacked on them. Operation Bluebird was launched on 11 July in 1987 and continued for three months. 27 persons were alleged to have been killed, three women were allegedly raped and five women were sexually molested while 300 persons were allegedly tortured.
On the intervening night of July 10 and 11 in 2004, the 17th Assam Rifles troops cordoned Thangjam Manorama’s house at Bamon Kampu Mayai Leikai, Imphal East District. The all-male soldiers’ team, without any police woman, interrogated and tortured her in front of her family. She was whisked way in their vehicle after issuing an arrest memo. The next morning, her lifeless body was found on the road side with tell-tale signs of rape and torture.
It was on this day 11 July in 2009, when a group of family members of victims of extrajudicial executions and human rights activist met at the house of (late) Longjam Uttamkumar at Longjam Leirak, Imphal who was executed in front of his own family, that the idea of the families of the victims to come together and collectively fight for justice was dawned, leading to the formation of EEVFAM.
The annual report of the association was also presented by the Secretary who presented a report on the status of the ongoing CBI investigation and trial in the CJMs and Sessions Court in Manipur following the EEVFAM PIL in the Supreme Court, added the statement.
Four Thousands Unauthorised RAT Kits Seized in Churachandpur
Four cartons of unauthorised Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits were seized by Churachandpur police on July 16 and the persons who carried the COVID-19 testing kits are kept in police custody.
Reports said that one ambulance bearing registration number AS01 AR 0835 was intercepted in front of Churachandpur College. While enquiring the two occupants of the vehicle, it was known that the consignment of RAT kits had already been unloaded somewhere in HQ Veng at the house of one Thangmuonsang, 35, son of Kampu of HQ Veng.
Later, the Churachandpur District police team recovered four cartons of RAT kits from the residence of Thangmuonsang. The two occupants in the ambulance were identified as Okram Uday Singh alias Devson, 26, son of (Late) O Inao of Thoubal district and Sagolsem Umesh, 38, son of Sagolsem Manisana of Imphal West district. After inspection, the RAT kits were found to be STANDARD-Q COVID-19 Ag test kits manufactured by SD Biosensor Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, Haryana. The four cartons contain 40 boxes each of 25 testing kits, totalling 4,000 testing kits.
As the individuals could not produce any documents or authorisation letter from the medical directorate or any other authority concerned, the police seized the articles under 102 CrPC. An intimation regarding the case has been forwarded to the DC and CMO of Churachandpur and further investigation is ongoing on, reports added.
Brown Sugar Weighing 2.285 kg Seized
A team of Chandel district police under the supervision of SP L Deben arrested a drug trafficker while a sizable quantity of brown sugar weighing 2.285 kg was seized from Sajik Tampak area on July 13.
Reports said the individual has been identified as John Manglamsaun Zou, 19, son of Paudoulien Zou of Home Guard Veng, Moreh Ward No-I.
Acting on a specific source regarding drug trafficking in the general area of Khullen Khailet near Sajik Tampak, three teams of Chandel district police including a team from Chakpikarong police station led by OC Rafi Shah and SDPO Chandel Oinam Sukumar Singh under the supervision of additional SP (LO), Chandel Shankerjit Loitongbam, and overall guidance of SP Chandel L Deben Singh conducted a cordon and search operation in Khullen Khailet at around 2:30 pm on July 13.
During the cordon and search operation, a total of 177 numbers of soap cases containing brown sugar weighing 2.285 kg were detected and seized from the rented house of John Manglamsaun Zou, reports said.
MMWO Flays Restriction Against Animals Slaughter on BakrId
The Manipur Muslim Welfare Organisation (MMWO) on July 14 warned to launch intense agitation if the state police interfere the slaughtering of animals during the occasion of Bakrid.
It was in response to a letter issued on July 13 to the district SPs from the office of the SP of CID (CB), Manipur, to stop illegal/killing/sacrifices of cows/calves, camels and other animals and take action against the offenders for violation of Transport of Animal Rules on the occasion of Bakrid and circulated in the social media.
Reports quoting MMWO advisor Abdullah Phundreimayum while speaking to the media said such letter which is more like an instruction given by an SP of CID (CB) to other SPs has brought a lot of tension among the Manipuri Muslim community.
Questioning why such restrictions are made only on Muslims during Bakrid occasion, Abdula said that animal slaughtering is common among Christians during Christmas and Hindus during Durga Puja (Bali). Moreover, the Supreme Court of India, in its ruling, had already exempted imposing of Prevention of Cruelty Act, 1960 in practicing religious rituals, he added.
However, the CID (CB) on July 15 has appealed to the general public not to misinterpret or spread misinformation about the letter which was issued to districts SPs to strictly implement the Animal Welfare Laws to stop illegal slaughter of animals during the Bakrid festival, reports added.
Trained Nurses Association threatens agitation
While the services of nurses are indispensible in the fight against COVID-19, the Trained Nurses Association of India (TNAI), Manipur branch on July 15 warned to conduct mass black badge protest from July 21 to July 28 and cease work from July 28 onwards demanding to implement 7th pay commission in the state
A release by TNA, Manipur branch signed by its president, N Tangbi Devi on July 15 has stated that TNAI Manipur has been demanding to enhance the grade pay of various categories of nurses working under the state government at par with the nurses working under the central government. It has also been demanding to enhance the nursing allowance from existing Rs 2,000 per month to Rs 4,000 per month.
The demands were raised by TNAI Manipur considering the grade pay structure and nursing allowance given to the nurses working in various states and central government health institutions across the country. Despite repeated assurances given by the government in this regard, necessary action is yet to be taken, it added.
Manipur High Court on MLA Resignation Case
A division bench of the Manipur High Court comprising Justice Lanusungkum Jamir and Justice Ahanthem Bimol on July 13 dismissed the petitions filed by three former MLAs who challenged the acceptance of their own resignation by the Speaker.
The High Court stated that if the resignation is genuine and voluntary, there is nothing wrong in accepting such resignation by the speaker promptly as no time limit is given under the Constitution or under the ‘Procedure and Conduct Rules’ for accepting the resignation tendered by a member of the Legislative Assembly of a state.
The order was issued after hearing three petitions filed by three former MLAs, namely T Thangzalam Haokip, Samuel Jendai and S Subhaschandra Singh, challenging the Bulletin Part-II bearing No 36, 37 and 38 all dated June 18, 2020 issued by the secretary, Manipur Legislative Assembly that published the acceptance of the resignations tendered by the petitioners from being a member of the Manipur Legislative Assembly
The petitions also challenged the notifying of the vacancy of three assembly constituencies, namely 57-Henglep (ST), 21-Naoriya Pakhanglakpa and 53-Tamenglong (ST) consequent upon their resignations, coupled with a prayer for issuing a writ of mandamus directing the Speaker, Manipur Legislative Assembly to reconsider or revoke the acceptance of resignation they had tendered.
The court stated that it did not find any material to conclude that the resignation tendered by the petitioners were not voluntary. Conversely, after taking into consideration the facts and circumstances of the present cases, the court had no hesitation to hold that the resignation tendered by the petitioners were genuine and voluntary.
The court observed that therefore, there is no merit in the allegations made by the petitioner that their resignation have been accepted by the Speaker in a hasty manner and that the action of the Speaker amounts to mala-fide exercise of power.
“As the acceptance of the resignation was published by issuing the impugned Bulletins and as the Bulletins were notified in the public domain by publishing in the Official Gazette, the petitioners cannot allege that no specific acceptance order was issued and communicated to them,” the HC stated in its order.