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Protect RTI activists from NSCN (I-M), Manipur rights panel tells govt.

A view of a deserted street during a 12 hour bandh call by NSCN-IM as a mark of protest against Central Government for keeping silent on Framework Agreement signed between Indian Government and NSCN-IM 6 years ago, in Dimapur, August 3, 2021   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has directed the State government to protect the lives of four RTI activists who went into hiding a year ago to keep an extremist organisation off their backs.

The direction to the DGP and the Special Secretary (Home) was given on September 14 on the basis of a complaint filed by Imphal-based rights activist Wahengbam Joykumar Singh. The case had been filed with the National Human Rights Commission, which transferred it to the MHRC.

The two officials were asked to arrange a safe and a secure place for sheltering the four activists — K. Enoch, P. Johnson, S.P. Benjamin and P.R. Amose — and look into the alleged threat to their lives.

The four are from Manipur’s Senapati district. They had reportedly angered the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, or NSCN (I-M) by filing RTI applications seeking details of Central funds purportedly spent by an autonomous tribal council on development projects.

Show of solidarity

According to Mr. Singh’s complaint, the NSCN (I-M) members had abducted Mr. Enoch on January 20, 2020, tortured and pressured him to withdraw the RTI application. In a show of solidarity with him, 31 residents of Taphou Phyamai village in the Senapati district had filed an RTI application each seeking similar information.

Mr. Singh wrote: “…It is the bounden duty of the respondents to protect and secure the life and limb of the citizens and [as] such, the authority concerned may provide dwelling rooms/houses to the victims/RTI users at some secure place like 1st Manipur Rifles/2nd Manipur Rifles complex, guesthouse or some other secured places along with foodgrains till the amicable settlement of the case.”

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 4:16:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/protect-rti-activists-from-nscn-i-m-manipur-rights-panel-tells-govt/article36551208.ece

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