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Manipur: NSCN(IM) action against RTI activists resented

NSCM (IM) cadres. File photo for representation only.   | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

Extremists belonging to at least two factions of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) have been facing criticism or backlash from people in their own backyards.

Members of the Naga community in Manipur have resented punitive action by members of NSCN’s Isak-Muivah faction against Right to Information (RTI) activists who have sought details of expenditure by the autonomous district councils (ADCs) in the State.

In an open letter, civil society members in Manipur’s Senapati district have sought justice for the “victims of unlawful abduction, harassment and threat” by NSCN (IM).

Three RTI activists — P. Johnson Samo, P.R. Amos and S.P. Benjamin — have also written to the Poumai Naga Union, the apex body of the community, citing the abduction and torture of a friend who had to withdraw his RTI application besides paying a hefty penalty for seeking information.

The trio said that they had filed an application under RTI to the chief executive officer of ADC Senapati, seeking information relating to the implementation of various developmental works under four former ADC members during 2015-2021.

“The sole purpose and intention of filing the RTI is to bring transparency and accountability in the functioning between the people and their representatives, to know what kind of development works and schemes are being sanctioned by the government for the people and to fight and contain corruption that has hampered all-round development and progress in our land by our representatives for many years,” they said.

The trio resented the “inhuman treatment” meted out to Senapati-based RTI activist Kh. Enoch. “We also fear that we would meet the same fate for voicing against corruption,” the trio wrote, adding that some of the applicants have had to flee as they were “compelled to fear the guns of our own people”.

Another activist, declining to be quoted said Mr. Enoch was whisked away at midnight, kept blindfolded in a dark room filled with human faeces and urine for eight days and let go only after he agreed to withdraw the RTI.

“He was fined ₹70,000 for not withdrawing the RTI earlier and another ₹60,000 because of a missing complaint lodged by his wife. He was finally released with a written agreement that he would be fined ₹50,00,000 for breaking the terms and conditions forced upon by the NSCN,” the activist said.

“I hope and pray that all abduction, threats and harassment would end so that we can put our trust back in the NSCN who have been our heroes once upon a time,” he added.

Backlash in Arunachal

Locals in Arunachal Pradesh thrashed four members of the outlawed Yung Aung faction of the NSCN (Khaplang) in Longding district to release a villager named Khamjan Wangsu. The incident took place on May 16.

The district police said Lalto Wangham, the head gaon burah (village chief) of Longkhao village lodged a complaint on May 17 relating the incident.

According to the complaint, members of NSCN (K-YA) abducted Mr. Wangsu after firing indiscriminately at the villagers. He was tortured and later taken towards Maihwa village nearby.

“The villagers tried to negotiate the man’s release but an argument and fighting ensued. They secured the man’s release and also snatched two AK-47 assault rifles from his abductors,” a police official said.


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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 12:54:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/manipur-nscnim-action-against-rti-activists-resented/article34587260.ece

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