Wednesday, 24 July 2019 - Imphal Times

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Imphal, July 24,

An ex-student of Standard Robarth Higher Secondary School shared their nightmarish experience while staying in the school’s boarding.

Before I share my story, I request to not disclose my identity, the lady now doing her graduation told Imphal Times.

She said, “The incidents that I am going to share today are what I actually experienced and witnessed during my stay in the boarding of Standard Robarth. I hope my side of the story helps in giving justice to Babysana”. Produce below is what she narrated to Imphal Times:

With one elder sister and two younger sisters, I stayed in the boarding from 2009-2012 (class 5-8). During these 4 years of my stay, I witnessed the wardens physically abusing the students with such atrocity, but without any proper reasoning, like how terrorists apathetically torture people. It included me and my sisters, too. I hope people will trust what I am saying.

Experiences since 2009:

  1. When I entered the boarding for the first time, I witnessed two sisters and a girl being harshly beaten in the assembly ground for running away from the boarding. Even Madam Landhoni was involved in beating them. One of the girls was very small. Instead of beating them if these homesick students were properly counselled, many students in the boarding would not have seen them in a bad light. The wardens made them lie face down and brutally beat them, like how animals are atrociously tortured. Seven wardens and Madam Landhoni brutally beat the students innumerable times with canes without any sympathy and without even considering if it would hurt the students or not.
  2. When I was in class 5, just because my name appeared like that of a boy when written backward on a bench, I was blamed for writing a boy’s name and beaten while making me lie face down.
  3. Instead of correcting students’ mistakes and guiding them towards the right path, the wardens called whatever the immature, young students did as crime, labelled them as thieves, shameless, and brutally beat them in the assembly ground.

When a student borrowed someone else’s belt because they had lost their belt, the student was beaten by hanging on the belt.

  1. One day when it was heavily raining, our boarding campus was completely flooded. The ground was also flooded and most of the wardens were fishing. Just for watching them fish from the verandah, the students were beaten by the wardens.
  2. They are those who get pleasure and satisfaction out of beating students, who defame the name of teachers, and who torture students in the name of god. Any female student with good looks, if confessed by a boy, the wardens just beat them. Even when the students were bleeding or when someone cried “ema-ema” or even when they see them unable to bear the pain, they beat the students till they are satisfied, all in the name of “caring for the students”. Even if the students were in a romantic relationship, it would be better if they had counselled and guided the students of what is right and wrong, considering that the students were adolescents. They are inhuman who only think beating students for everything as the solution and who mentally and physically torture students.
  3. I was severely ill in 2010-2011 and my right hand was also completely paralysed. They sent me for treatment after 3 months, and that too they had let me go after my father got furious. Knowing that my hand was not functioning, a warden made me carry his huge bucket for going to the washroom as a punishment. Since then, the condition of my hand worsened. It took one year of treatment.
  4. 4 wardens shamed and labelled my younger sister and her friend as lesbians just for simply spending time together and horrifically beat them, like demons, during the study hour while making them lie face down.
  5. The wardens did brutally beat my innocent and studious younger sister by saying that she had a boyfriend.
  6. A warden summoned my eldest sister and her friend, asked to “bend down” without asking anything, and horribly beat them to the extent that they were not able to walk later on. The warden ruined their reputation by accusing them for misleading other studious students into flirting with boys, just because they had good looks.
  7. We stayed on the top floor and there was a warden next to our room. Next to his room, there was a washroom, where the students kept their buckets and toothbrush. On a first Sunday, a student had lost their money and us roommates were searching for it. Our neighbouring warden had urinated in a mug and kept it at the doorstep. In the morning, when the students went to get buckets and toothbrush to freshen up, they kicked the mug by mistake since it was dark early in the morning. To this, the warden horribly beat us for not cleaning the mug and for searching the lost money.

Whatever I am saying are facts and incidents I witnessed. I am sharing these events since I am getting this opportunity. Again, I am requesting to not disclose my identity and pleading to trust what I am saying. I hope my story helps Babysana at least in some way.

As requested, we are maintaining the anonymity of the person’s identity.

How is supporting and keeping such an exploitative institution running a protection of Human Rights?

What is the purpose of such Right to Education that comes at the cost of students’ mental and physical health?

Note : Image used for representation purpose only

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Imphal, July 24,

All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) today demanded the arrest of authorities of Standard Robarth School in connection with the mysterious death of Babysana.

“Principal Pheiroijam Landhoni Devi, Coordinator Pheiroijam Romita Devi, Administrator Ibotomba, Head Warden Kamei Ileen and Dormitory warden Nongmaithem Jinnty must be booked and interrogated within 12 hours”, AMSU President Peter Laishram said in a meeting with media persons held today afternoon at AMSU Headquarters.

AMSU President also said that the organisation has names of other teachers who could have been involved in the case and their names will be revealed later. AMSU also called a joint meeting with the parents of students residing in Standard Robarth boarding at Ima Khunthoknganbi Shanglen on July 25 at 11 am. He further appealed the parents to attend the meeting and said that the organisation will not entertain the comments of the parents who didn’t take part in the meeting. 

The students’ body also appealed the people of the state to support the 24 hours bandh called by the JAC formed against the mysterious death of Babysana at the hostel room of Standard Robarth School. Ningthoujam Babysana , a student of class VII died in mysterious circumstances  in her hostel room. School authority has been claiming the death as ‘suicide’.

 “This bandh is a step towards finding the truth in this case”, Peter said adding that if the government fails to find out the truth of the case, AMSU will intensify the agitation.

AMSU also demanded the immediate release of its five volunteers who were picked up from Kakching in connection with the bandh.

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Imphal, July 24,

While appreciating the concern of an outlawed group called PWG to the mysterious death of Ningthoujam Babysana at the Hostel room of Standard Robarth, MLA of Thangmeiband Assembly Constituency, Khumukcham Joykishan urged the outlaw body to name the Students’ Body which stopped conducting investigation to find the cause of the death by favouring the Principal of the school.

Speaking to media persons today morning, Joykishan said that even though he is very much against separatist movement as he believes in the Constitution of India, some good works taken up by them should be appreciated. He expressed dissatisfactions to many of the Students’ Bodies and Civil Society Organizations over their silence to the alleged heinous crime committed to a girl student.

“Every one of us who want justice to be delivered to the ill fated girl should raise their voice against the injustice done to her”, MLA Joykishan said.

He added that as appeared at some of the newspapers the armed outfit Peoples’ War Group (PWG) had stated that one students’ group had stopped the investigation by favouring the Principal of the School, Pheiroijam Landhoni Devi. As the PWG had not mentioned the name of the Students’ organizations – image of all other students’ body struggling for justice of Babysana are being spoiled.

As witnessed by the people of the state the AMSU had relentlessly agitated for justice of the ill fated girl supporting the cause of the JAC formed against the mysterious death of Babysana yesterday. Some other students’ body like SSUM, SUK etc. had also extended their support to the movement of the JAC.

However, which student body the PWG was taking about? The PWG should made public the name of the students’ organization which is standing in favour of the school.

On the other hand, MLA Joykishan also lambasted the Education Minister and SP of Imphal West for trying to fool the common people by saying that two of the suspects had been arrested.

“If they have arrested them why they are not making it public”, Joykishan said adding that they are only trying to divert the people’s agitation.

Joykishan also lambasted the government over failure to arrest a girl which has been spreading false news calling the death of Babysana’s death as suicide.

When a person who wrote anything against the government in social networking site can be arrested from anywhere in the state or outside the state, why the girl which has been spreading false story to incite anger to the public has not been arrested, Joykishan questioned the government.  

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Imphal, July 24,

The 24 hours Manipur bandh called by the JAC formed against the mysterious death of Babysana at her hostel room at Standard Robarth School Canchipur has severely affected normal life in Greater Imphal area.

The JAC had earlier announced to call the bandh on July 25 but after the publication of this newspaper a press statement issued in urgency announced Manipur bandh from 6 am today till 6 am tomorrow. Imphal Times had reported the earlier version of the JAC which confuses our readers in the hard copy edition however, in our web edition we have corrected the news report.

During the 24 hours bandh called by the JAC and supported by AMSU and various other clubs and organizations, Khwairambandh Keithel, Paona Keithel, Thangal Keithel remained closed. Vehicular movement in the streets of Imphal were very low in number and no commercial transport service were seen plying on the roads. Banks , private offices, schools and colleges remain close. Attendance in the Government offices were also very low.

At Thangmeibandh area bandh supporters came out in the road and stopped all short of vehicular movement.

The JAC has been demanding proper enquiry to the mysterious death of Ningthoujam Babysana, a student of Standard Robarth and found death in the hostel room of the school on July 18 and also punishment of all those involved to the death of the student.

Education Minister Radheshyam yesterday said that two suspects to the death of the students has been arrested however, the JAC demanded revelation of those arrested and speedy trial of them so that justice be delivered to Babysana.

Earlier, a student body SSUM had shut down the school expressing their anger over the death of the student. However, Manipur State Human Rights Commission (MHRC) instead of taking up Suo Motto case over the death of the student sent notice to the student body by taking up a case to closure of the school.

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Imphal, July 24,

BJP MLAs of the state who have been camping at New Delhi since the last couple of month  for replacement of Chief Minister N. Biren Singh had submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Manipur Dr. Najma Heptula at New Delhi. Dr. Heptulla is on leave and Governor Acharya is at present in charge governor of the state. Dr. Najma Heptulla in her Facebook page had uploaded a photo taken along with the dissident BJP MLAs.

Source close to Imphal Times said that the dissident MLAs still have hopes that the centre will change the Chief Minister after the parliament session.

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Babysana’s case has again brought Manipur to its usual self. Joint Action Committee formed on this issue has called a bandh. Chief Minister has said that it is a case of suicide but does not want to show the post mortem report to prove that it is a case of suicide. The argument is that the government and the concerned departments working on the matter must be trusted. But, why ? If they had taken the matter of child safety seriously then things would have been different. Whether it is a premeditated murder of the girl, as JAC claims or sucide, according to CM, the case brings to light the problems that marred these residential schools and hostels which are cropping up everyday in this state. In this case, Pheiroijam Landhoni, the principal of the school has accepted that there are lapses in the management of the hostel. The question remains on the gravity of those lapses. If there are lapses, then the responsibility is not just of the school, Manipur Commission for Protection Child Rights (MCPCR) must also say something on this matter.
Manipur Commission for Protection Child Rights (MCPCR) in 2018 said that taking “a serious view on the recent incidents of deaths, suicides and sexual assault on minors, who are the inmates of different Boarding and Hostels being run by school authorities and private individuals,” there will be regularory guidelines for hostels of educational institutions for children specific to Manipur. The commission also reported in the media that it had conducted a fact finding in 2018 on this matter and it revealed “several incompetency and unfavourable settings in the management and infrastructures” in hostels for children in this state and it said that the conditions of the residential spaces are “largely detrimental to the security of children.” It has even submitted the draft of the state specific guidelines based on National Commision for Protection of Child Rights’ (NCPCR) 2018 “Regulatory Guidelines for Hostels of Educational Institutions for Children.” The question remains what MCPCR did to those residential institutes for children where lapses and serious compromise to the security of the children were found. NCPCR’s 2018 regulatory guidelines entail that all the hostels whether private or government must be registered. There are regulations on the infrastructure of the hostels. Whether these hostels cropping up everyday in Manipur meet these infrastructural regulations or not, MCPCR must answer. If MCPCR and concerned authorities had taken seriously the matter of security of our children, we would not see the turmoil that has befallen the state now.
How many of these hostels have proper health care for children living there ? It is the responsibility of the superintendent to “ensure the safety, security and psychological well-being of the children residing in the hostel,” according to the guideline. Whether the owners of these hostels show concerned for the physical and psychological well being of the children in their hostels, MCPCR should know about this matter. Are the children in these hostels undergoing regular health check-ups at least thrice by a registered medical practitioner as entailed by NCPCR’s guidelines? MCPCR and owners of these hostels must answer. When it comes to the mental health of the children, the guidelines consider it as an important and dedicates an entire section. If the mental health of a child deteriorates in the hostel and the hostel authority does not do anything, then it is a serious matter as the regulation makes it mandatory that mental health of the children must be looked after in the institute employing trained counselors and doctors. The regulation clearly states that “all persons involved in taking care of the children in a hostel shall participate in facilitating an enabling environment and work in collaboration with the counselor as needed” and must provide “critical mental health intervention, whenever required.”  Are there such facilities  in all the hostels and residential schools in Manipur, especially in Standard Robarth Higher Secondary School ? MCPCR must say something about this too.
There are allegations that school authority was late in calling the parents and the police. Instead, an organisation who works for the interest of private schools reached there first. If this is true, it is clear violation of NCPCR guidelines. The guidelines entail that hostel superintendent should “immediately report the matter to concerned officials of the district administration” if there is a case of violation of the rights of children. Most importantly, are there children committees being set up which should be solely run by children living in hostels? The committee should be asked about their lives in the residential spaces of Standard Robarth Higher Secondary School? MCPCR must take this matter up. These questions about the safety of our children should haunt all of us and most importantly, the state machinery entrusted with the protection of the rights of our children. This case should make us think about the safety of the children in this society and things we must do.

Published in Editorial
Wednesday, 24 July 2019 17:25

Who is responsible?

It is very sad and painful to see and testify the standard as well as quality of majority of our students these days. Being in the profession of teaching I started asking myself, what went wrong with our young people in the field of quality Education, in spite of tireless toil of parents, students organizations to bring quality Education? It’s widely known that parents runs here and there for their children’s tuition from dawn to dusk in addition to what school teachers taught in their respective schools in the hope that the quality and standard of their wards might be enhanced but majority of parents if I am not mistaken disheartened so badly that some of them even started taking BP controlling tablets. The pass percentage of HSLC Examination conducted by BOSEM is soaring up as per record with many of our students passed with letter marks in Mathematics. Seeing this I am so happy that our youths are very good in Mathematics. But when the result of HSSLC Examination result conducted by COHSEM is declared the result is just reversed. The pass percentage in Mathematics subject is below 50% in most year but improved a little in 2019 result, still then majority of students passed in Mathematics just obtained 33% .A big question is why? How these boys and girls who scored good marks in Mathematics in HSLC are getting very low marks and even fail in Mathematics in HSSLC Examination? Is it due to the deficiency of Mathematics teachers in teaching Mathematics? Is it due to parent’s desire   (not by the students) opting their children to go for Medical line, resulting their aptitude in Mathematics have been nipped in the bud? Due to this mass failure or declining the aptitude in Mathematics at this stage of Education might cause a big vacuum in the field of Mathematics studies in Manipur, I presume rather sufficient number of Mathematics teachers may not be available in Manipur in the time to come.
         Besides this, it is also generally observed that the aptitude of learning or study among our people of young age has declined drastically. Is it due to globalization in this era of ITEs? Is it due to unemployment problem after tooth and nail efforts for a better career and future? Is it due to the malpractices or irregularities in Board examination and State service commission’s Examination?  In last year HSCLC examination,  one  student  who  stood  fourth  position  in the said  examination conducted by BOSEM was given eight (08) marks less, if she were given that eight (08) marks she would have been First Position as her total of 569 +08=577,but the First position holders scored 573 marks in total. Not only this, one student who could have been in first twenty-five rank was given ten (10) marks less. Before impasses of last year’s HSLC Exam gets over, another problem has come out again in the result of this year’s (2019) HSLC Examination conducted by BOSEM. It is reported that a student who declared 24th rank by getting 543 marks, after rechecking got 546 marks which makes 21st rank. Similarly another student who stood 24th rank become 16th rank,15th rank become 13th rank and two students who were simply declared pass in first division become 22nd and 25th rank respectively after re-evaluation. Where has the enquiry committee formed to look into the last year case landed? In another case of Manipur University, a girl student of WAIKHOM MANI GIRLS COLLEGE( Arina Begum) who appeared 6th semester B.Sc. Geology (Hons, bearing Roll No.6106615) exam of 2019 (May) declared failed in the exam result declared on 01/07/2019 as per No.MU/9/1-6/17 EXAM(C) of controller of Exam office. However in the Corrigendum of dated the 12th July 2019, No.MU/9/1-6/19 Exam(C) the said girl student has been declared passed in first Division and placed 3rd position in merit list. What is this? It won’t be exaggerated to say that many such irregularities could have been in Manipur University also, which again caused many unwanted & unnecessary problems to our students. Again one of the leading local news Paper’s headline on 20th July 2018 also reported many malpractices and irregularities in the MCSCCE 2016, conducted by MPSC in which the mark of one candidate who scored 129 in Geography paper-II was entered as 32.Not only this many answer scripts (523 out of 5764) were not signed by the examiners as well as by the superintendent. This impasses is also going on unending even High Court of Manipur intervene the problem Similarly in HSSLC Examination conducted  by  COHSEM  also,  many  students  increased  their  total  marks  after rechecking  .Does  such  malpractices  and  irregularities  in  such  important examinations  responsible  in  losing  the  hopes  and  aspirations  of  lakhs  of  our youths? Is it due to such favoritisms, nepotisms that the hopes of lakhs of our youths may become in vain which in turn makes our youths, assets of no use? Students Organization like DESAM, trying at its best for “EDUCATION FREE ZONE” and MSF is campaigning “EIKHOI LAIRIK NINGTHINA TAMSI”. Who is listening the voices of our students’ leader who suffered a lot in many occasions fighting for the rights of our students? Who is the right person to answer these countless questions of our youths? And who is responsible for this?  

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Wednesday, 24 July 2019 17:23

ORS Week Celebration 2019 inaugurated

Imphal July, 24,

The ‘ORS Week Celebration 2019’ was inaugurated today at JNIMS’s Conference Hall, Porompat. The celebration was organized by Pediatric Association of India (PAM), with the theme “ORS: The Amrut in Dehydration.”
On the occasion, Director, JNIMS Prof Th. Bhimo Singh, Medical Superintendent, JNIMS Hospital, Prof. N. Jitendra and President PAM, Dr. Kh. Ratankumar Singh graced as Chief Guest, Guest of Honour and President respectively. Secretary PAM, R.K. Rupabati Devi was also on the dais.
As part of the programme, Chief Guest of the celebration Prof Th. Bhimo Singh released a leaflet, ‘The role of Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) in Diarrhea in Children’ and Dr. M Meenakshi presented a power point presentation on ‘Oral Rehydration Therapy’.
It may be mentioned that the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) observes ORS week every year in July including July 29 as ORS Day. IAP is saying to increase awareness on the importance of ORS. ORS saves lives of children having diarrhea. The meaning of this year’s theme “ORS: The Amrut in Dehydration” is holy water that can give immortal lives to children.
It is a wonderful medicine and also the cheapest and one of the most miraculous drug of the 20th century having power to save millions of lives

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By a Correspondent
New Delhi July 24,

The emergency Action Committee of IMA, today has decided to oppose NMC Bill 2019. Fighting against the NMC bill since 2016, IMA believes that the bill has only undergone cosmetic changes and the core concerns raised by IMA is still unaddressed.
Though the deleterious clauses have been retained in the bill, but the addition of Section 32 that legalizes quackery by empowering community health providers to practice medicine will only endanger the lives of people. This is the single largest threat to the Health of the nation.
 “The decision to couple NEXT and NEET lacks vision and clarity and is absurd. While the Licenciate examination will license the minimum qualified person to practice medicine, NEET will be selecting the best students aspiring for post graduate medical education. This will prevent over 50 percent of the qualified MBBS graduates from practicing modern medicine. This will also give rise to quackery as the Government will allow the quacks, who are hardly 30% of the total doctor’s population to practice under the pretext of ‘Shortage of Doctor’.” Said Dr Santanu Sen, National President, IMA.
 “IMA at all costs is against this decision as this will also increase the health safety concerns of the common public. The Government in their wisdom are refusing license to practice to qualified MBBS graduates coming out of our Medical Colleges every year, but promoting indirect quackery.” He added
The other clause includes - Provision to fix fee of private medical colleges capped to 50% of the seats has been further diluted to framing guidelines only. 
 “Now 100% of the private medical seats will be deregulated regarding the fees subject to nonbinding guidelines. Medical education in the country will become expensive placing the lower socio-economic groups in great disadvantage. This effectively removes poor and middle class reckoning for such seats. However lack of clarity on implementation has jeopardized the decision itself.” Said Dr RV Asokan, Hony. Secretary General, IMA
IMA opposes NMC Bill 2019 since it violates the following 6 cardinal principles of autonomy, exclusivity, patient safety, right to democracy, federalism and equal opportunities.
Taking into account that more than 279 out of India’s 500 plus medical colleges are in private sector and the eligibility criteria  to open a medical college has been further diluted to include all companies and even private partnerships the commercialization of India’s medical education is complete. 
 “There has never been a blatant pro rich bias of this intensity. The NMC bill is a pro-private management Bill paving the way for widespread corruption. This goes to say that all arguments of the Government are hollow and its intention is malafide and harmful. Rural healthcare is bound to improve only by starting new Government medical colleges and wisely deploying the medical manpower.” Added Dr Rajan Sharma, National President – Elect, IMA
IMA is convinced that NMC Bill 2019 requires serious mind application by the Parliamentarians.  It would strike the death knell of medical profession in the current format.  IMA reserves the right to wage a struggle against this black law in a format and time space of its choice taking the people into confidence.    

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IGAR (South)
Imphal July 24,

In an endeavour to reach out to the local population and render all possible help to locals, Moltuk Battalion of 26 Sector Assam Rifles under the aegis of IGAR (South) organised a conclave for the Village Chiefs and Secretaries in and around Khengjoi on yesterday.   
The congregation of the chiefs, secretaries and the elders was aimed at identifying areas where the Army could pitch in with its efforts to alleviate the hardships being faced by the locals in such remote parts. Various issues related to lack of basic medical facilities and water shortage amongst others were highlighted. A consensus regarding implementation of rain water harvesting was arrived at. The officer of Moltuk battalion took the opportunity to inform the chiefs about the forthcoming recruitment rally for women and regarding the Battalion’s planned pre-recruitment training for aspiring women. The officer assured the Village Chief regarding conduct of regular medical checkup rounds to compensate for lack of basic medical infrastructure. The conclave concluded with a church service.

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