MHRC registers petition to monitor major drug hauls in state

The Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has registered a case following a petition filed by Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) and User Society for Effective Response (USER) Manipur to monitor the cases of major drug hauls in the state.

The Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has registered a case following a petition filed by Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) and User Society for Effective Response (USER) Manipur to monitor the cases of major drug hauls in the state.   

A joint release stated that CoNE and USER has been collaborating with NITI Aayog and striving to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 3, target 5 to strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.

As organisations working closely with the victims of drug abuse in Manipur they would like to appraise the Commission of the alarming situation of the easy availability of drugs in each and every locality of Manipur, it said.

As per the report of 2019, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Manipur has 34,344 injecting drug users, the release stated. If the oral users and ‘WY chasing users’ are also counted, the number could swell to more than a lakh, it said. A large section of the young population, including adolescent girls, fall prey to drugs destroying their right to health, education and even life itself, it added.

The release further said that it is heartening to note that the chief minister of Manipur, N Biren Singh has also announced a ‘War on Drugs’ in November 2018.

According to him, from March 2017 to August 2018, “Manipur police has registered 483 drug related cases and arrested 636 people, including 126 women. The total quantity of drugs and contraband items seized during this period is over 19 kilogram of heroin power, over 5031 kilogram of ganja over 243 kilogram of opium, 3,88,342 capsules of spasmo proxyvon (SP), 23,480 tablets a and 31 strips of nitrosun, 10,83,283 WY tablets, 4697 bottle of cough syrup, over 17 kilogrm of brown sugar, 29,000 ephedrine tablets, 30,800 Alphawin tablet,” the release mentioned.

However, an independent survey of the prisons initiated by civil bodies reveals that the drug peddlers convicted in Manipur are only small fries, the release said. The big players who were apprehended with large quantities of drugs are seldom convicted and always find legal loopholes and go scot free.

Public is deeply suspicious if there is a close nexus between the drug lords and people in the corridors of power, the release said.

The anxiety of the public is also heightened by the recent high drama of an additional SP of the Narcotic and Affairs of Border in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Court in connection to the granting of bail to an accused former chairman, Autonomous District Council, Chandel of the ruling BJP party LhukhoseiZou, who was declared absconder for jumping bail earlier by the same court, the release stated.

All these developments are casting a shadow of doubt on the independence of judiciary and rule of law in Manipur, thereby facilitating easy availability of drugs in Manipur jeopardizing the right to health, education and life itself for hundreds of thousands of young people, it said.

In order to project the human rights of these young citizens, the petition was filed to kindly intervene in the ongoing trials of these major drug hauls by exercising the powers granted by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (PHRA).

CoNE is a state level network of 12 community-based organisations of Manipur and USER Manipur is a state level organisation for effective response to drug use, it added.  

 

First Published:June 6, 2020, 11:19 p.m.