Rights panel asks Manipur DGP to protect 4 RTI activists from NSCN-IM

The Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has asked the state’s Home Department and the state Police Chief to provide proper protection to four RTI activists who have gone into hiding fearing “reprisal” from the militant outfit NSCN-IM, officials said on Monday.

An MHRC official said that based on a complaint lodged by rights activist Wahengbam Joykumar Singh, the commission has directed the state’s Director General of Police and Special Secretary (Home) to find out a secure location so that the 4 RTI activists can be placed in order to secure their right to life guaranteed under the Constitution and provide them basic requirements including food grains till the case is settled.

He said that the National Human Rights Commission transferred a case on the issue to the MHRC for disposal.

MHRC order issued by acting Chairperson Khaidem Mani said that Kh Enoch, P. Johnson, S.P. Benjamin and P.R. Amose, all residents of northern Manipur’s Senapati District bordering Nagaland have been facing reprisal from the proscribed NSCN-IM since March 2020 after they had sought information through the Right to Information Act in connection with the development work taken up by the state government.

The complaint had stated, “… on January 20 last year some cadres of fraction of NSCM-IM (Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim) abducted Enoch and tortured him and kept him for 8 days at some unknown location and pressurised him to withdraw the RTI application and ultimately he forcibly agreed to withdraw his application.”

The petition also said that on getting information about the threats and intimidation inflicted on Enoch, 31 villagers of Taphou Phyamai Village under Senapati District, had filed 31 RTI applications in order to extend their solidarity to the RTI activists.

This Commission had also asked the Director General of Police, and Special Secretary (Home) to look into the matter and submit their replies to the Commission.

The NSCM-IM and eight other outfits have been holding peace talks with the central government and these Naga outfits came together a few years ago under the banner of ‘Naga National Political Groups’ (NNPGs).

The NSCN-IM and other outfits entered into a ceasefire agreement with the government of India in 1997 and in the subsequent years and held a political dialogue since then.

The NSCN-IM, the dominant Naga group since August 1997, has held around 80 rounds of negotiations with the Centre.