Interestingly, the prayer for remand by Thoubal SDPO H Johnny Sharma to the Thoubal District CJM stated the place of arrest as Wangjing near Canteen Lampak, which according to the 3.5 is “totally contradictory to the facts” as he was arrested from his own house in front of a dozen witnesses including his own parents.
The 3.5 Collective has strongly condemned the “arbitrary arrest and slapping of false charges” against Coalition Against Drug and Alcohol (CADA) Thoubal District Committee secretary general Shintha Laishram alias Herojit. The collective also urged the Government of Manipur to drop all the false charges against human rights defender Shintha Laishram and set him free immediately.
The 3.5 Collective, in a release issued on Friday stated that it considered “the act of concocting false and fabricated charges” as an action of reprisal for demanding appeal against Judgment acquitting Lukhosei Zou and others.
As a part of its ongoing campaigns CADA jointly organised a sit-in protest meeting with Ningol Club on April 7, 2021 at around 10:00 am. The protestors displayed several placards demanding the appeal against the judgement acquitting Zou to the higher court, including a slogan that the “Chief Minister should resign”.
The Thoubal District Superintendent of Police (SP) Sarangthem Ibomcha called up over the phone to Ningol Club president Sofia Khundongbam expressing his annoyance that their slogan “Chief Minister should resign” had created a “fuss in the high ups” and that his image have been ruined, the release said.
Later at around 1 pm on the same day, a team of Thoubal police in three police SUVs (Gypsies), led by Office-in-Charge (OC) of Heirok Police Station came to the house of Sofia and demanded that the banners and placards that they used during the protest should be handed over, stating that the Thoubal SP would like to inspect them.
Sofia told them that she kept them inside her house and that she would take it out. As she went inside the house, the male police commandos also allegedly barged into her house without seeking any permission. 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, according to the release.
The same day, the police personnel also came on three vehicles and raided the house of Shintha Laishram at around 2:00 pm. Thereafter, Shintha was abducted in front of his parents. When his mother pleaded for the reason of the arrest, the police personnel told her that they also did not know the reason. No arrest memo was issued. His room was ransacked and thoroughly searched without showing any search warrant, the release added. .
The release further 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 over ground worker of a proscribed outfit.
In the FIR drawn up against him he is slapped with the “fabricated charges” of section 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Interestingly, the prayer for remand by Thoubal SDPO H Johnny Sharma to the Thoubal District Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) stated the place of arrest as Wangjing near Canteen Lampak, which according to the 3.5 is “totally contradictory to the facts” as he was arrested from his own house in front of a dozen witnesses including his own parents.
The arrest memo produced before the Thoubal District CJM was not signed neither 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 Santosh Singh (constable number 17428). This is contrary to the law of the land, the 3.5 Collective asserted.
The release also mentioned that CADA is a well respected civil society organisation campaigning against the menace of drugs and alcohol in Manipur since its inception in 2006. The recent acquittal of former Chandel Autonomous District Council (ADC), Moreh chairman Loukhosei Zou who was arrested with Rs 27 crore worth of contraband drugs from his official residence in 2018 is being protested by several civil society groups.
The 3.5 Collective also reiterated its stand to fight for a drug free Manipur in line with Sustainable Development Goal number 3 target 5. The act of reprisal will not deter commitment, it added.