Anti-migrant activist released on bail in Manipur

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Imphal, Sep 8 (IANS) The district and sessions court judge Imphal west on Thursday ordered the release on bail of Khomdram Ratan, a former convener of the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System.

Judge M. Manoj also ordered to furnish a bail amount of Rs 100,000. He said that Ratan cannot leave Manipur without first obtaining permission from the court.

On June 2, the government had declared Ratan an absconder and a reward of Rs 500,000 was announced.

The prosecution charge was that he was a member of the outlawed United National Liberation Front. One photograph purportedly showing him in an oath taking ceremony of the outfit was uploaded on social media. However, Ratan denied the charge.

While the High Court of Manipur was hearing his bail petition Ratan materialised from hiding on August 17 and participated in the relay hunger strike in his support by women and student activists.

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In a midnight swoop police arrested him. The High Court ruled that the “wanted” tag be deleted. The word “wanted” in the police press release be replaced by some words like “information”.

Lawyer and former IPS officer A. Romenkumar told IANS that there are certain mandatory procedures like police raids, public notifications before a person is declared absconder. In case of Ratan these formalities were not observed.

JCILPS has been demanding introduction of the Inner Line Permit to regulate the entry and settlement of the “outsiders”. However, the central government is not in favour.

The union Home Ministry informed the Manipur government that the ILP now in force in three North Eastern states cannot be implemented in Manipur.

The three bills passed by the Manipur Assembly were also rejected by the President. While the valley dwellers are all for the ILP the tribals are dead against it. The tribals have not been claiming the bodies of nine persons killed in an agitation even after one year.

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