Need stringent action to curb drug-users extortion issues, says Nalinikanta
IMPHAL | May 17 : Despite the ongoing fight of Community Network for Empowerment (CoNE) to curb extortion by excise department officials from drug-users, such cases are still happening in the state. In this regard, CoNE and one of its affiliated CBOs, The Overcomers has called for attention of the state government.
In a press conference held at Manipur Press Club today, president CoNE, R.K. Nalinikanta alleged that a group of officials from Excise department have been habitually targeting drug users as their source of secret revenue. The extortion racket has been going on for almost 10 years but victims were made to keep mum and this has invited more problems for their families, he said.
However they can no longer compromise with the situation, as some families are made to bear the brunt of such blackmails and they had to mete out their frustration to rehab centres where their wards are kept, he added.
Nalinikanta said that recently on May 10 and May 11 two such victims were taken into custody by a team led by Wakrambam Parijat of Tera Takyel Khongbal, who identified himself as an official of Narcotics department.
Narrating the incident, secretary of The Overcomers, Sagolsem Herojit said that according to statement of the two victims, none of the arresting team were in uniform and came in an unmarked white gypsy and an I-20 car. The drug users were detained as they came out after having their dosage at Kshetrigao Sabal Leikai. After detention, the excise team show them few packets of heroin and later charged the victims for possessing drugs.
He further said that the team informed their parents of being caught while taking drugs and demanded Rs. 20,000 each for their release. Even if the parents had no objection in sending their wards to jail, the parents negotiated and settled paying Rs. 5000 each.
Herojit continued that when the CBO visited the department office, they witnessed that the person responsible for the arrest was seen playing cards. “We also witnessed a tribal lady from Lamlongei crying on the verandah as she was demanded Rs. 50,000 and another man from Dewlahland being demanded Rs. 30,000 for the release of their wards. They also threatened them of exposing their wards’ name in media if they do not pay up” he said.
He maintained that Parijat is the younger brother of W. Rajmani Singh who had retired as officer-in-charge of the excise station. He is also former excise constable who has since been dismissed service but continuing the extortion racket till date.
He appealed to authority concerned to take cognizance of the extortion racket and take up appropriate steps to rectify the situation and to punish the culprits.
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