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Jeet Akoijam

Jeet Akoijam

Jeet Akoijam, Resident Editor of Imphal Times hails from Singjamei Liwa Road. Has been with Imphal Times since its start. A National level Rugby player and  a regular Trekker and Nature Lover, loves spending time in lap of Mother Nature. Jeet is the father of two lovely kids. Jeet can be contacted at [email protected]

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EECHAL decries raising crime against women and children

IT News
Imphal, Aug 1,

Ereipak Enaat Chanura Loinasillon (EECHAL), Imphal today decries the raising crime against women and children in the state of Manipur.
“ At first we were worried that the sanctity of the Manipuri women and the children would have been spoiled with the influx of outsider after being merged to India, but we are shocked to learn that more crime on women and children are being committed from our own people”, T. Ibemcha, President EECHAL said, while talking to media persons at te sideline of its 14th Foundation Day function held at Lamyanba Shanglen, Palace Compund.
Citing the case of the suspicious death of Babysana, Ibemcha said that the tragic incident happened at the premises of a school which is being looked after by a woman with woman sub-ordinate staffs.
“What is more concern is the atrocities and harassment committed from our brothers and even from women community towards our women and children”, she said.
Expressing shocked to the incident where a minor girl Babysana was found dead in suspicious manner, Ibemcha said that government inability to show a single clue on the cause of the dead of Babysana is an insult to all the womenfolk of the state. Earlier, we had struggled lot fighting for justice of rape victims by armed forces who entered the state , now we are fighting against our own people as the government now had forgotten to show respect to the dignity of women and children of the state.
Ereipak Enaat Chanura Loinasillon (EECHAL) was borne to fight for the rights of the women folk of the region. Since its birth the organization has been voicing against all form of crimes committed to women.
The 14th Foundation Day held today at Lamyanba Shanglen was also attended by Ph. Shakhi, President of AMKIL, TH. Ramani. President of Nupi Samaj, S. Momon Leima , President of All Manipur Tammi Chingmi Apunba Lup, Rose Mangsi Haokip, Advisor Kuki Mothers’ Union, Manipur, Atompui Kamei, President KAMA, Aribam Sitara Begum , President All Manipur Muslim Women Development  Association etc.

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CM convenes meeting to discuss the issue of sand mining; labourers continue protest, stage rally

IT News

Imphal, July 31,

With the uproar of various sections of people who live on the mining of sand and stones from river bed, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh today convened a meeting to discuss the issue on the Regulation of Illegal Mining Activities in the State.

As per a Facebook post by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh wrote – Chaired a meeting on “regulation of Illegal Mining Activities in the state “ today, attended by Ministers and MLAs, concerned officials of Forest and Environment , Commerce & Industries, Pollution Control Board and all DCs and SPs”.

The Chief Minister further wrote – “Resolved to facilitate mining licenses to deserving individuals and groups at specific areas through concern DCs and Officials of the Government and allow authorized mining activities to proceed. Also resolved to bring an awareness campaign to the public on prevailing regulations of mining activities in the state.”

The meeting was convened today in the backdrop of the various agitations by labourers and truckers bodies who live on sand mining works. An organization called All Manipur Excavator, Local truck, Tipper Owners and Workers’ Association had called 14 hour bandh across the state on August 1 .

Whether today’s meeting had intimated the association to call off the bandh is yet to be confirmed, however, source said that the truckers and machinery’s body still have not released any statement regarding the meeting convened today neither the body had had stated any U turn to their demand.

Meanwhile, large number of labourers under aegis of the Apunba Sinmi Lup , Awang Sekmai and Kanglatombi today came towards the Manipur High Court to stage protest, however they were stopped at koirengei area a  police team.

Earlier, a protest rally was staged at Bishnupur district by labourers of sand mining of Thongjaorok area. Truckers also joined the rally staged by the labourers of Thongjaorok.

A labourer while speaking to media persons said that banning of mining is like putting them to the pol of death.

“If we are left to starve as we have no work it is better that we were killed”, an angry protestor said . She said that they will now go to the court the tell the judge to kill them all as they will face natural death.

On the other hand, a protestor said that banning of sand mining is nothing but blocking of development. He said without sand and stone how could development be brought. He further said that before the mining of sand and stone are stopped it is better the government department like Public Works department should be abolished as without sand and stone no constructions can be taken place. 

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Front Line Defender calls on India to ensure safety and protection of Rights defender Sobita Mangsatabam

IT News

Imphal, July 30

Front Line Defender, an international body formed for protecting human rights defenders at risk based in Dublin (Ireland) has expressed serious concern to the series of threats to Imphal base Rights activist Sobita Mangsatabam , and calls on the government of India to Guarantee all human rights defenders in Manipur and India a safe and enabling environment in which to carry out their peaceful work.

On 24 July 2019, an off duty police officer brandishing a firearm, visited the office of Women’s Action for Development (WAD), a women’s rights organisation based in Imphal City, Manipur, and inquired about the whereabouts of its secretary, Sobita Mangsatabam. The same police officer had visited the WAD office on 21 July at around 8.30 pm, but failed to gain entry to the compound. It is believed that the threats against Sobita Mangsatabam and WAD are linked to their intervention in a domestic violence complaint filed against the said police officer by his wife in June 2019.

Sobita Mangsatabam is a human rights defender in Manipur who has been working for the rights of women and girls in Manipur for over two decades. Her organisation, Women’s Action for Development aims to promote and protect the rights of women and girls, especially survivors of violence, including sexual violence. Sobita Mangsatabam is also the Convenor of the District Women Committee (DWC) of United NGOs Mission Manipur (UNMM). Sobita Mangsatabam is a strong advocate for accountability and justice for crimes of violence against women and girls. She provides support and protection for survivors and their families and has been vocal in her call for criminal justice reform to end impunity for violence against women.

On 24 July 2019, the police officer entered the compound in civilian clothes. He pulled out his firearm, held it close to his waist and questioned the caretaker about Sobita Mangsatabam’s whereabouts.

The office was closed that day due to a ‘bandh’ or shut down in the city, and Sobita Mangsatabam and her staff had not reported to work. The officer remained in the area for around 15 minutes after he spoke to the caretaker. The same officer had tried and failed to enter the compound on the night of 21 July 2019. The officer has been subsequently identified as Laimayum Bishwanath Sharma, a serving officer of the Manipur Police, who has been assigned as security to the local Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The RSS is a right wing nationalist organisation with strong links to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Sobita Mangsatabam has since been informed by the police that officer Sharma has been arrested and suspended from service with immediate effect in connection to the threats her. The officer was produced before the Court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate Imphal East and released on bail.

The threatening incident on 24 July 2019 is believed to be linked to the support provided by Sobita Mangsatabam and WAD to the victim of a domestic violence. The wife of the police officer had filed a complaint against him in June 2019 detailing threats and domestic violence including death threats against her and their children. Since June, Sobita Mangsatabam and her staff had been in contact with the police officer and his family in an attempt to resolve the matter. However, as the threats escalated, on 15 July 2019, Sobita Mangsatabam and WAD supported the wife and children to leave the house and move to a temporary shelter.

The incident on 24 July is the second threat on Sobita Mangsatabam and her family this month. On 4 July 2019, a group of unidentified men traveling in a four-wheel drive fired shots at her daughter, Urikhimbam Thoibi. The men had trailed Urikhimbam Thoibi for some distance, and shot at her and two other relatives including a minor child, as they ran into her residence. Front Line Defenders has previously issued an urgent appeal expressing its concern against the incident and calling for an immediate and credible inquiry by the Manipur police.

Sobita Mangsatabam and her organisation have been targeted previously due to her human rights work. In April 2017, following the gang rape of two minor girls, she filed a complaint regarding the incident under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act 2012. Together with several other women’s human rights defenders and organisations, she monitored the case and advocated for an effective inquiry and prosecution. Following the charge sheet being filed against the accused in this case, five armed men visited the WAD office and asked about her whereabouts. A group of men claiming to be from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) also visited the UNMM office and inquired about Sobita Mangsatabam. Although Sobita Mangsatabam and her staff were unharmed in that instance, there was grave concern for her safety against reprisals and also due to the failure of the police to ensure support and protection to the WHRD.

The Front Line Defenders while expressing strong condemnation to the threats against Sobita Mangsatabam calls on the Indian government to ensure that the officer involved in the incident on 24 July is being held accountable and carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the attack on Sobita Mangsatabam’s daughter on 4 July with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards; It also urged the GoI to take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Sobita Mangsatabam and her family in consultation with them.

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Of faith and failed justice

For now, the brief and promising flirt with ‘unprecedented development’ which was used with much hype and success during the last election and the subsequent emergence of the BJP as a power in the state stands truly over. The internal strife within the coalition ruling party diverting precious time and effort which should have been utilized in improving the governance of the state bears testimony to the fact that the elected representatives of the people of the state has more important and different pursuits than the aspirations of the common man. The mushrooming number of Civil Society Organisations, public groups, clubs and joint Action Committees is the most accurate indication of a system gone dysfunctional to the point that these associations and organizations are felt necessary to try and patch the ever increasing cracks in social administrations and public management.
The recent unfortunate death or rather murder of a young student inside the school hostel of Standard Robarth is not a one-off incident nor is it totally unexpected. It is a result of the defunct implementing agencies of the state government failing to take up timely and adequate measures in earnest. It may be recalled that in May of 2014, 26 students who were residents of the school hostel fled the hostel who revealed atrocious acts by the school authorities such as brutal physical beatings, mental harassment and public humiliations for insignificant faults of the students on a regular basis. A press conference was even held regarding the incident at the AMSU office. Unfortunately and tragically, none of the stakeholders in the lives of the students including the parents and state authorities took serious note of the situation and the result is for all to see right now. How many more deaths and murders would it take for the state administration to look into such reports and more importantly, place guidelines and implement measures to ensure no such heartbreaking incidents ever happen again by finding the culprit/s and setting an unforgettable example of swift and tough justice.
Another aspect of the state administration that has proven to be an abject failure in light of the unfolding incident is that of the state police and its investigative credentials. The demand by the Joint Action Committee formed on the death of Babysana along with various other supporting civil society organizations to hand over the investigation into the death to the CBI and not the state investigative agencies speaks of the massive trust deficit of the people towards the police and its activities. They are viewed not as protectors of the common man but rather as a symbol of control and intimidation by the government and if this mindset is to be changed or if the state government has the slightest concern to address the declining situation, a long and sustained effort on the part of the state police department and the state government in general needs to be put in. It would not only be impractical but also humiliating for the state services if each and every criminal case is to be referred to the CBI.
In order for criminals and potential wrongdoers to take notice of the strict laws and swift actions which will deter them to a great extent, the investigators needs to be well trained and diligent, not to mention the necessity for maintaining a high degree of personal and professional integrity which has been in question till now. Unsolved crimes, unsuccessful prosecutions, unpunished offenders and wrongful convictions have brought the criminal justice system to disrepute and these loopholes needs to be addressed and rectified at the earliest before the whole system is taken over by the increasingly frustrated and impatient public- an alternative and a distinct possibility far worse than anything. The onus is on the government. It may very well disregard the warnings at its own peril.