The 3.5 Collective has strongly condemned the arbitrary arrest and the alleged slapping of false charges against Coalition against Drug and Alcohol (CADA), Thoubal District Committee, Manipur general secretary Shintha Laishram alias Herojit.
CADA is a well-respected civil voluntary organisation campaigning against the menace of drugs and alcohol in Manipur since its inception in 2006, a release stated.
The recent acquittal of Lhukhosei Zou is protested by several civil bodies, it stated. As a part of the ongoing campaigns, CADA jointly organised a sit-in protest meeting with Ningol Club on Wednesday. The protestors displayed several placards demanding the appeal of the judgment acquitting Zou to the higher court, including a slogan that the "Chief Minister should resign".
The release stated that the superintendent of Police, Thoubal district Sarangthem lbomcha (Manipur Police Service) called up over the phone to president, Ningol Club Sofia Khundongbam and expressed his annoyance that their slogan “Chief Minister should resign” has created a “fuss in the high ups” and that his image have been ruined.
Later at around 1:30 pm on the same day, a team of Thoubal Police in three police gypsies, led by office-in-charge of Heirok Police Station came to the house of Sofia and demanded the banners and placards that they used during the protest, saying that the SP Thoubal would like to inspect them, it added.
As she went inside the house, the male police commando also barged into her house without seeking any permission, the release stated, adding she demanded them to stay outside as it is a lady's room, but they refused, and then the lady police personnel barged in searching for the placards. They confiscated all banners and placards and whisked them away, it added.
The very same day another raid was also conducted at the house of Shintha Laishram at around 2:00 pm where three police vehicles came and abducted him in front of his parents, the release stated.
When his mother pleaded for the reason for the arrest, the police personnel told her that they also do not know the reason, it further stated, adding no arrest memo was issued. His room was ransacked and thoroughly searched without showing any search warrant, it stated.
The release stated that he was initially taken to the Commando Barrack, Thoubal, and later handed over to the Thoubal Police Station. He was ill-treated and slapped on his left ear by officer-in-charge of Thoubal Police Commando, one inspector Tiken, for not signing on an arrest memo with a fabricated charge as an overground worker of an outlawed organisation, it stated. In the FIR drawn up against him, he is slapped with the fabricated charges of section 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, it added.
Interestingly, the prayer for remand by the H Johnny Sharma, SDPO Thoubal to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Thoubal District stated the place of arrest as Wangjing near Canteen Lampak, which is totally contradictory to the facts as he was arrested from his own house in front of a dozen witnesses, including his own parents, 3.5 Collective stated.
The arrest memo produced to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Thoubal district was not signed either by Shintha himself nor his family member/ members of the local community; rather it was signed by two police personnel namely Ch Layland Singh (constable number 0908326) and I Santosh Singh (constable number 17428), it stated, adding this is contrary to the law of the land.
The 3.5 Collective consider this act of concocting false and fabricated charges as an act of reprisal for demanding appeal against the judgment acquitting Lhukhosei Zou and others, it stated. The 3.5 Collective, urged the state government to drop all the false charges against human rights defender Shintha Laishram and set him free immediately.