TODAY -

PANDM suspects cops, tobacco traders' nexus
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, July 31 2021: Taking into account the lax attitude towards complete prohibition of betel leaves and tobacco products in the state, People's Action for National Democratic Movement (PANDM) has announced that it would be looking into the matter seriously.

In a statement released by its IPR secretary Roshnikanta Takhelcha, PANDM said that the state government had imposed total curfew, extended till August 3, to break the chain of transmission of Covid-19 .

However, business is going on as usual for those involved in illegal trading of banned substances.

There is continued import of tobacco and other products into the state from Covid infected areas like Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, etc., which in turn are acting as main spreader of the virus amongst the people of the state.

As such, a detailed investigation is needed to ascertain how the banned products are being sold freely to the people when even shops in Paona Bazar and Thangal Bazar are closed.

"Even when the entry to the state was not restricted, several student bodies of the state and CSOs helped in confiscation of the banned tobacco products brought into the state in a secret manner via the road.

Thus, one cannot help but suspect whether security forces are involved in the movement and supply considering the products are easily available amidst the restrictions and the total curfew imposed in the state.

There are even suspicions of some groups masquerading as frontline warriors in carrying on the trade.

It needs to be ascertained whether police personnel assigned to enforce the curfew in the market areas are truly doing their job or rather acting as guards for the said trading shops", the body remarked.

PANDM continued: "The student bodies and CSOs cannot move freely during the total curfew and as such, the responsibility falls on those enforcing the curfew".

Urging the DGP to look into the matter, the body commented on the arrogant attitudes of businessmen in Paona Bazar and Thangal Bazar areas who have responded rudely when they were asked not to indulge in illegal practices.

"The 'black marketers/smugglers' are acting so because they have powerful backing.

However, these are only demeaning the police force, making it seem as if they are under the control of outsiders", it said, while informing that PANDM will be working with other like-minded CSOs to look into the matter.

It then urged the people to extend their support in this regard so as to help make Manipur become a drug-free state.


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