Home » MHRC takes up Suo Moto case against threats to RTI activists by NSCN-IM cadres

MHRC takes up Suo Moto case against threats to RTI activists by NSCN-IM cadres

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 4 minutes read

IT News
Imphal, Aug 12:

The Manipur Human Rights Commission has taken up a Suo Moto proceeding in connection with the threat to Senapati-based RTI activists and has directed the state government authority to provide police protection and to keep them in a secure place. The Suo Moto proceeding is taken up on the basis of the newspaper report published by various media houses and an appeal circulated on social media platforms including Whatsapps groups.
The MHRC found that the two RTI activists from Senapati district, reportedly faced reprisal after they have filed RTI applications to the concerned authorities in respect of the development works in Senapati District, Manipur. It is alleged that NSCN (IM) has pressured the two RTI activists to withdraw their respective RTI applications. Otherwise, the said activists may face dire consequences including death penalty. The report also mentioned that the said two activists were hiding themselves and they sought police protection.
“The above being the facts and circumstances of the case have made out a prima facie case for inquiring. Hence register it MHRC complaint case and ask Director General of Police Manipur and Special Secretary (Home) Government of Manipur to look into the said case and submit their respective replies on or before 16.08.2021”, the Commission said.
The hearing of the proceeding has been fixed for 16.08.2021.
Mention may be made that the RTI Activists from Senapati have been living in hiding due to apprehension of the NSCN (IM)’s order to withdraw the RTI applications filed to the CEO, ADC Senapati against the 16-Phuba DCC, 17-Phaibung DCC, 18-Ngari Khullen DCG and 24- Karong DCC seeking information on the progress of development works and utilization of public money allocated by the Government of India to the Autonomous District Council, Senapati. The order is believed to have come from the behest of the Collective Leadership Members of NSCN (I-M) Shepoumaramth Region namely Mr. KV Sounii and Rev. Puni Mao. The two alleged leaders have been continually pressuring and threatening the RTI Activists to withdraw the RTI applications or else face stern action which amounted to a death threat. On 16th March & 17th September, 2020, the NSCN (IM), Shepoumaramth Region issued an order on behest of the said two leaders stating that “no individual or group will be allowed to file RTI to the Indian Government in any matter and that all RTI filed to the Govt of Indian be withdrawn immediately or face stern action for not doing so”.
Consequently, Mr. Inoch, an RTI Activist was abducted by some cadres of NSCN (I-M) for not obeying to withdraw RTI applications. He was taken to their custody and tortured for several days until his eventual surrender thereof. He was only released after a heavy fine and a forced agreement with harsh terms and conditions to silence him. Meanwhile, the other three Activists have fled from their respective villages and are now hiding somewhere in Imphal. It is also fact that one Mr. Dalounii, another RTI user along with 28 other villagers of Phuba Village also filed a joint application under RTI Act to the CEO, ADC Senapati in support of the previous RTI applications. He too was abducted and was forced to surrender with a heavy fine for seeking information through RTI.
It is clearly revealed that the NSCN (I-M) could not know the RTI matter if the CEO and ADC Members did not give them this information and also the armed group might not be intimidated or threatened by the RTI users unless the CEO and ADC Members did not instigate and bribe them. The tremendous harassments and hardships faced by these RTI activists go even beyond threats to their lives. The very ways and means for earning livelihood for their respective families have been choked. This is especially the case for P. Johnson who is a government-approved contractor. The two alleged Collective Leadership Members of NSCN (I-M) mentioned above have put all restrictions and stoppage on the government contract works that are being carried out by him/other persons or contract works that are given in his name.
The RTI activists, have also appealed already to some civil society organisations like the Poumai Naga Union (PNU), the Mao Council (M.C.) Poumai Naga Tsiidoumai Me (PNTM), Poumai Naotumai Me (PNM) and Human Rights Organisations for helping us but no concrete action has been taken up by anyone till date.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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