RTI activists appeal for action against NSCN-IM

The RTI activists from Senapati have been living in hiding in apprehension of the NSCN-IM’s order to withdraw the RTI applications filed to the CEO and ADC Senapati, stated a release issued by RTI activities of Senapati P Johnson Samo and PR Amose.


A group of RTI activists from Senapati district on Friday appealed to both the Central and state government to take necessary steps against NSCN-IM for allegedly pressuring and threatening them to withdraw the RTI applications filed to the CEO and ADC Senapati.

The RTI activists from Senapati have been living in hiding in apprehension of the NSCN-IM’s order to withdraw the RTI applications filed to the CEO and ADC Senapati, stated a release issued by RTI activities of Senapati P Johnson Samo and PR Amose.

It stated that the RTI applications were filed to the CEO, ADC Senapati against the 16-Phuba DCC, 17-Phaibung DCC, 18-Ngari Khullen DCC and 24 Karong DCC seeking information on the progress of development works and utilisation of public money allocated by the central government to the ADC, Senapati.

The release stated that on March 16 and September 17 of 2020, the NSCN-IM, Shepoumaramth Region issued an order which mentioned 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be allowed to file RTI to the Indian government in any matter and that all RTI filed to the government of Indian be withdrawn immediately or face stern action for not doing so.”

The order is believed to have come from the behest of the Collective Leadership Members of NSCN-IM, Shepoumaramth Region KV Sounii and Rev Puni Mao, it added.

The phrase “or else face stern action” in the order amounted to death threats, the release stated.

It further stated that consequently, an RTI activist named Inoch was allegedly abducted by some cadres of NSCN-IM for not obeying to withdraw RTI applications.

He was allegedly taken to their custody and tortured for several days until his eventual surrender thereof and he was only released after a heavy fine and a forced agreement with harsh terms and conditions to silence him, the release stated.

Meanwhile, three other RTI activists have fled from their respective villages and are now hiding somewhere in Imphal, it stated. It is also fact that one 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, it added.  

He too was abducted and was forced to surrender with heavy fine for seeking information through RTI, the release further stated.

“It is clearly revealed that the NSCN-IM could not find out about the RTI matter if the CEO and ADC members did not give them information and also the armed group might not have intimidated or threatened the RTI users unless the CEO and ADC members did not instigate and bribe them,” it mentioned.

The tremendous harassment and hardships faced by these RTI activists go even beyond threats to their lives and the very ways and means for earning livelihood for their respective families have been choked, it stated.

The two alleged collective Leadership Members of NSCN-IM mentioned above have put all restrictions and stoppage on the government contract works that are being carried out by RTI activists P Johnson and other persons or contract works that are given in his name, the release alleged.

In this regard, the RTI activists have also appealed to some civil voluntary organisations and human rights organisations for helping them; however, no concrete action has been taken up by anyone till date.

Mentioning that the RTI activists have been suffering a lot from March 2020 till date, they stated that they may be eventually killed and questioned about the uncertainties they face for the immediate future, it added.

Stating that the RTI users have done no wrong to deserve such ill treatment which amounts to death penalty, it further stated that their fight is only against corruption, corrupted officials and corrupt practices.

It also appealed to the civil voluntary organisations and human rights organisations to raise their voice to book the culprits or criminals at the earliest possible to usher justice in the society and for the safety and security of the RTI activists in particular.

 

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First Published:July 16, 2021, 11:43 p.m.

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