TODAY -

HRA urges MHRC
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 02 2021: Human Rights Alert (HRA) has written to the Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) on their finding in the 'custodial death of two Myanmar ladies' in judicial custody at Sadbhavana Mandap, New Lamka, Churachandpur.

In a letter addressed to the Chairperson of MHRC, Babloo Loitongbam, executive director of HRA stated that Churachandpur police, had on March 31 last, arrested 29 Myanmar Nationals, including six minors, staying without proper documents from Ngathal and Kawnpui villages of Churachandpur and were produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Churachandpur, the same day.

It was recorded that they crossed the border due to threat and fear of persecution as a result of the military coup in the neighbouring country, said Babloo and maintained that they were remanded to police custody till April 7, 2021 .

Saying that the Myanmar Nationals were produced before the same Court on April 7 again and further remanded 28 of them to judicial custody while one juvenile was transferred to ah Observation Home at Ramthar village, Churachandpur.

According to Babloo, the 28 Myanmar National were kept at Sadbhavana Mandap, New Lamka (Centre) which was declared as a temporary prison under Prison Act, 1984 by the State Government on April 1, 2021 and soon the separated juvenile re-joined the group in the Centre with due permission from the CJM.

Claiming that the Government did not provide food or healthcare facilities to the Myanmar Nationals, he added that many of the inmates of the centre began to fall sick in between May end and the beginning of June.

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) such as Zomi Youth Association (ZYA) and Zomi Mother's Association (ZMA) of Churachandpur volunteered in providing food to the foreign Nationals, he continued.

Saying that they requested for medical help, but the request fell on deaf ears and it was only on June 5 that some medical personnel came and checked their health condition, HRA maintained that nine of the inmates were found to be Covid positive on checking in which two of them were in critical conditions.

The critical patients were immediately admitted to District Hospital (Covid Isolation Ward), unfortunately, one of them, Ma Myint, daughter of Usan aged about 46 years died on June 6, 2021, Babloo narrated and maintained that the other patient Mukhai (40), d/o Nita breathed her last in the same hospital two days later (June 8).Babloo maintained that another 13 more inmates of the Centre were found to be Covid positive and were shifted to a designated Covid Care Centre at Churachandpur Government College on June 7.They (the 13 inmates) returned to the Centre on 16 June 2021 after recovery.

Claiming that the inmates were deprived of their right to adequate nutritious food and mandatory medical attention while they were in the centre, and depended solely on the charity of CSOs, Babloo charged that their (the inmates) desperate calls for help were heard only when the situation was out of control.

This systematic deprivation of the right to food and right to health in State custody, ultimately 'causing the death of two inmates, is nothing short of custodial violence and it is in violation of the Right to Life enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India,' Babloo asserted.

He then requested the Commission to ensure that the inmates of the Centre are provided adequate nutritious food as well as regular medical attention as per the standard norms of any prison/designated prison without any discrimination.

Saying that NHRC guidelines on custodial death must be strictly adhered to while dealing with this case-including the mandatory reporting to the secretary, NHRC as well as the Magisterial inquiry into the incident by a Judicial Magistrate, he urged the Commission to recommend the State Government to grant an interim compensation of at least Rs 20 lakh each to the next-of-kin of the deceased - Ma Myint and Mukhai.


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