Source: Leader writer: Inaotomba Thongbam(IMPHAL FREE PRESS), Posted: 2006-03-04
Undoubtedly, the people of Manipur are shocked to learn and hear M Naobi’s harrowing tale of sadistic physical and mental torment during the first two days of her 10 day long ordeal in the hands of police. It does not matter if the she was the girlfriend of a slain underground cadre or whatever else her background may be, but the nature and the manner in which she said she was tortured and harassed, both physically and mentally, by the police commandos on the first two days of her arrest, deserved condemnation from every individual with a humane heart. Absolutely, there is no word to condemn the alleged action of police commandos, going by what Naobi told the press. The benefit of the doubt, if anybody harbours a doubt at all, as to whether her account is factual, must go to the victim, and moreover, the police had no real legally actionable charge against her when they picked her up. Now, understandably the authorities would have charges, whether genuine or artificial, levelled against her, supposedly to substantiate their action, but the her unconditional release by the law court says all that she is innocent and the harassment and torture done to her by the law enforcing agency is extraordinarily and a contravention of the existing administrative and social norms.
Since the initial days Naobi was picked up by Thoubal police commandos soon after Vikash’s last rites, the general public, ackowledging the moral and past experience of the counter insurgency unit of the state police, strongly felt that Naobi had been hooked as a scape goat over the killing of inspector Lokhon. The public were also of the opinion that something outrageous could have been done to her by the commandos which swung in action to arrest her. All this has become a reality as Naobi herself, without any hesitation and courageously, disclosed the physical and mental torment she faced at the hand of the people whom she described as worse than jungle animal. By now it seems that government has come to realize about innocence of Naobi. But the question arises as to why the government took so much time in realizing the fact that Naobi was innocent and her detention was unjust and unlawful. Or, was the government acting in its customary practice of buying time only to convinced the seduced girl and her families that the action perpetrated by the police commandos were justified, simple because she was girlfriend of the hard-core underground man who died while executing the ambush to kill police inspector N Lokhon.
Had the government tackle the issue aptly at the initial stage and took up action accordingly against personnels involved Naobi’s arrest, the issue could have been resolved and over by now. Unfortunately, Manipur government has once again failed to understand and tackle another issue which could ignite the state. Manipur people’s reaction to the issue have already been shown in the public meeting convened today at Hotel Excellency, the foiled rally that followed and the general strike called tomorrow on the issue. The government too have moved an inch forward in tackling the issue by ordering a magisterial inquiry to ascertain the allegation of harassment and torture levelled by seduced girl. However, it is beyond doubt that the general public are unlikely to be pleased with the government’s decision and it is also very much eminent that another Manorama episode is in the offing if government act wisely and handled the issue keeping in view of the sentiment of the Manipuri people.