Santhei Park Protest: Police files charge sheet against MO Andro PHC, court grants bail

Manipur police arrested the medical officer of Andro Primary Healthcare Centre for sharing his opinion in connection with the issue.

The ongoing agitation against the state government’s tender notice on Andro Santhei Natural Park took an ugly turn when the state police arrested the medical officer of Andro Primary Healthcare Centre for sharing his opinion in connection with the issue.

Locals of Andro have been taking up different forms of agitation opposing the state government’s move to operate the park in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model since September 11. The tender notification for running the park through PPP model was issued on September 7.

Speaking to theImphal Free Press, secretary, Andro Santhei Natural Park Managing Committee, Kh Pishak said, "We want to develop the park in the most naturalistic and traditional ways by ourselves. We do not want any third party to overtake the development and maintaining of the heritage park."

Since the last 15 years, the committee and the local club have been developing the park thereby ensuring that ecological balance is maintained with the funds raised from the visitors of the park, he added.

“The people of Andro will never stop the protests until and unless the tourism directorate revokes the tender notification for operating the park under PPP model,” cautioned the secretary.

Regarding the arrest of the doctor in connection with the issue, Pishak decried the arrest and remarked it as very unfortunate as the doctor is not related with the committee or the local club. “The doctor was just interpreting the tender notice published in English into Manipuri to the locals”, he added.

The medical officer identified as Dr Robindro Salam was reportedly arrested by Imphal East police on the night of September 16.  He was arrested on the charge of sharing his opinion in a meeting held on September 13 regarding the present issue of the park.

The charge alleged that Robindro instigated riot to locals of Andro thereby leading to dismantling of properties lying within the premise of the park on September 15.

While Robindro was produced before the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class, Imphal East, through video conferencing on September 17, the bail application and remand prayer were submitted by his counsel Laimayum Sevananda Sharma and the investigation officer SI Islauddun of the case respectively.

After hearing from the counsel of both the parties, the court accepted the bail application of Robindro.

On September 17, locals of Andro also staged a sit-in protest at Andro Keithel demanding release of the doctor immediately.

The committee and local club members also maintained that they met the project director of Tourism Corporation of Manipur Limited and submitted a memorandum seeking withdrawal of the tender notification. However, there is no positive response from the government so far, the locals added. 

First Published:Sept. 19, 2020, 11:06 p.m.

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