TODAY -

Out from jail, Henkai justifies calling CM Biren 'Judas'
Source: Chronicle News Service

Kangpokpi, July 21 2021: A day after his release from jail, ATSUM former finance secretary Henkai Singsit on Wednesday explained why chief minister N Biren Singh was dubbed Judas Iscariot in his Facebook post which landed him in Sajiwa jail for a month.

Speaking to media persons at his Motbung residence, Henkai recalled that he was detained on June 24 and then sent to Sajiwa Jail after four days of detention, the reasons for which he had not been told.

He continued that he was freed on July 20 after going through traumatic and harrowing time because of the extra-constitutional arrest while his family had to go through immense suffering and hardships.

A father of newly born twins while he was in jail, Henkai admitted that he had spoken out against the chief minister of Manipur on Facebook for betraying the trust of the tribal people since September 27, 2017, wherein a charter of demand was submitted to the government of Manipur through former chief secretary Suresh Babu which was a comprehensive memorandum identifying the problems and plights of the hill people.

The government had acknowledged the genuineness of the demands but unfortunately, nothing has been done to translate them into reality even after innumerable talks with the government and participation of the chief minister himself, ministers concerned and department officials.

Four years have passed yet nothing is seen on the ground, he claimed.

Henkai then asked why the government is taking its own people for a ride after making promise after promise, adding that the constitution of India gives every citizen of the country the rights which are sacrosanct and fundamental in nature.

He maintained that whatever expression or public utterance is made within the ambit of the constitution of India and as a free citizen of a free nation and with the intention to remind the state government of its promises made to the hill people.

"I have not said anything to incite public hatred or spoken out against any religion nor have I committed any crime to warrant this outrageous arrest and humiliation", asserted Henkai Singsit.

Expressing his amazement at the government's intolerance to public criticism and expression of opinions and views in matters of governance, the former ATSUM finance secretary said, "If you don't want criticism or rebuke do your job well and fulfil the promises made to the people".

"One fails to understand why the present government is trying to stifle the voices of dissent and taking innocuous statements on social media so seriously as criticism.

Dissent is a part and parcel of liberal democracy and is needed for a healthy democracy," he added.

He then opined that if the government is so much allergic to criticism why not come up with an amendment through constitutional processes and remove the right to freedom of speech and expression, after all, the BJP has got brute majority in the parliament.

People are angry with the government for its autocratic nature and vindictiveness.

They are being arbitrarily arrested, humiliated and thrown in prison for petty offences which could have been either ignored or let-off after chastising them and with stern warning that they will be punished in the event of repetition, Henkai added.

While reminding the state government that it is the people who have catapulted them to power, Henkai Singsit said that the present government should take it to their heart that election is around the corner and that same people will teach them a lesson if they do not mend their ways.

He further said, "The government should understand that there was peace in Manipur because the people had an earnest desire for it and 'we the tribal community especially the frontal organisations have immensely contributed to it'; which the government of Manipur should acknowledge and be grateful to us, but what have we got in return, nothing".

The erstwhile ATSUM finance secretary pointed out that there are 35 colleges in Manipur - 26 in the valley and only 9 in the hills - and three hill districts are without a college whereas every valley district has got at least 5-6 colleges.

He also said that there is uneven distribution of higher secondary schools as 23 of them exist in the hills and 36 in the valley.

He said that the demand for upgrade of more high schools to higher secondary is a non-starter till date while there is not a single Government Hr Sec School from Motbung to Mao, a distance of around 80 kms.

Recruitment of 42 MIL lecturers and 688 lecturers for higher secondary schools notification was issued on July 6, 2018 for which the appointment orders of 688 lecturers were issued on November 25, 2019 but MIL recruitment process has been stalled till today for unknown reasons, he said.

Henkai also pointed out that in connection with upgrade of IGNTU to a full-fledged autonomous university, chief minister N Biren had promised to take along ATSUM team to meet the former HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar but that never happens.

He said that with regards to appointment in six ADCs, notification was issued on February 29, 2020 but no ground work has been done till date.

He further pointed out that the election of ADCs which was to be held on June 1, 2020 has been delayed despite innumerable MOUs signed for its conduct.

He said that whether delimitation of Manipur Assembly Constituencies, 2020 will happen is still not clear.

He also recounted that on March 4, 2019 the chief minister while responding to a query by a member said that the Meiteis' demand for ST is genuine much to the consternation of the hill people and asked as to why the chief minister should take sides.

On the 'Judas Iscariot', the disciple who betrayed Jesus, Henkai said that he felt the chief minister N Biren Singh betrayed the tribal people of the state with unfulfilled promises, adding, "For all the above unattended and unfulfilled promises, I dubbed the chief minister as Judas Iscariot" .


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