About a month later of the receipt of the RTI applications, it was reported that some cadres of NSCN (I-M) allegedly started threatening and intimidating the four applicants to withdraw their application under RTI Act.
Human Rights Defender (HRD) Wahengbam Joykumar Singh has lodged a complaint with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against the CEO, Senapati District Autonomous District Council and four other elected ADC members and sought an investigation into alleged siphoning of huge amounts of money from the development funds mean for tribal people to a faction of NSCN (I-M) without executing the works in the field which resulted in threat and intimidation of four RTI activists.
In the complaint letter filed on Sunday Joykumar urged the Director General (DG) of NIA, look into the matter and to investigate as to whether or not ADC Senapati District CEO Khapudang has been allegedly funding a faction of NSCN (I-M) in collusion with the elected Members of Autonomous District Council.
According to the complaint letter, four individuals — Kh Inoch S/o Khulu of Phaibung Village, Senapati District; P Johnson Samo S/o Late Pazii, Taphou Phyamai Village, Senapati District; SP Benjamin S/o Simthar of Ngari Raidulomai Village, Senapati District, and PR Amose S/o Rozii of Khabung Khunou Village, PO Karong have filed four applications to the State Public Information Officer (SPIO)/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ADC Senapati and Deputy Commissioner, Senapati District, Government of Manipur for seeking information regarding the development funds in the respective four ADCs — 17-Phaibung DCC, 16-Phuba DCC, 18-Ngari DCC and 24-Karong DCC respectively under the Right to Information Act, 2005.
Instead of providing information, ADC Senapati District CEO Khapudang has been challenging the impinged decision of Manipur Information Commission directing him to furnish the required information before the High Court of Manipur.
About a month later of the receipt of the RTI applications, it was reported that some cadres of NSCN (I-M) started threatening and intimidating the four applicants to withdraw their application under RTI Act, which according to the complaint meant that the CEO might have allegedly given some amounts to the cadres of the outfit
Having declined the information sought, the applicants filed three complaints to the Lokayukta Manipur for investigation the case related to misuse of public money.
The complaint letter alleged that the development works of the said respective Autonomous District Councils have not been executed at all, which according to the complainant meant that the required money mean for development of the tribal areas have been stealthily taken away by the CEO in collusion with the ADC members without execution of the works in the field. This led to “threats and intimidation” by a faction of NSCN (I-M) to the RTI applicants for seeking detailed information.
The complainant also alleged that the faction of the NSCN (I-M) could not know the matter of RTI applications unless the CEO and ADC members informed them and as such, the said armed group issued two notices on August 10, 2020 and September 07, 2020 for banning the use of RTI Act and Lokayukta in the Senapati District.
The complainant further alleged that one of the RTI activists, Inoch was reportedly abducted and tortured by the faction of NSCN (I-M), which amounts to human rights violation and against the law of the land.
Because of the intimidation, Johnson, Bezamin and Amose are still hiding somewhere in the Imphal area and Inoch has been residing in his village as he cannot go outside without the permission of the outfit. Now, all the citizens of Naga habitat areas have been banned from resorting to RTI Act and Lokayukta, which amounts to violation of fundamental rights of Indian citizens, the complaint letter stated.
Meanwhile, on February 8, 2021, the Chief Information Commissioner of Manipur wrote a letter to the Director General of Police, Manipur for taking up necessary action for the safety and security of the activist victims.
“However, the Manipur police cannot do anything against the NSCN (I-M) on the ground since they are under a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India. As such, only the authority of central security forces can restrain them from such extra judicial/illegal activities, threatening and intimidating law abiding citizens,” the letter added.
Joykumar said that he has also filed a complaint to the National Human Rights Commission on April 24, 2021 in this regard.