Imphal, Feb. 11: Leading citizens of Manipur today expressed fears that were links between drug traffickers and politicians in the state and called for a CBI inquiry to catch the smugglers who bring large shipments of psychotropic substances into Manipur through air cargo.
Their apprehension was that important politicians were involved in drug smuggling to fund election expenses. These leading citizens were attending a consultation programme, organised by All Manipur Anti-Drug Association (AMADA) and Coalition Against Drugs and Alcoholism (CADA), here today to discuss the drug haul at Imphal airport.
Senior citizens, academics, lawyers, women activists and social activists participated in the deliberation.
On January 11, the special investigation unit of the Imphal West district police seized Respifed tablets valued at Rs 1.4 crore from Imphal airport. The special unit was disbanded the very next day. The consultation was held in the wake of these two events.
Disbanding the special unit — which was raised as “an internal arrangement” of the district for intelligence gathering — sparked suspicions that the unit was dissolved because it found that important political leaders and senior police officials were involved in drug smuggling.
Superintendent of police K. Jayenta Singh had clarified that the unit was an internal arrangement of the Imphal West district police to deal with vehicle theft and the unit was dissolved after it acted independently without the supervision of the district SP.
The SP also said one smuggler involved in the airport case was arrested.
The SP’s clarification failed to clear the public’s doubts and sit-ins were held in the past three weeks demanding identification of the owner of the seized drugs and also revival of the special investigation unit.
“One voter is bought at Rs 1,000 during elections. So, politicians need crores of rupees to win elections. There is enough reason for suspicion of politicians dealing in drugs to fund election expenses,” social scientist Dhanabir Laishram said.
Filmmaker and social activist Ningthouja Lancha also expressed the fear of existence of drug-politician nexus in Manipur to capture power.
“To clear all these doubts and check drug smuggling, an investigation by an independent body like CBI is required. We can also file a public interest litigation to know the owner of the drugs from the January 11 haul,” senior high court lawyer Khaiden Mani said. Today’s deliberation resolved to press for a CBI inquiry into the January 11 haul, file a public interest litigation in court and demand setting up special investigation units in all nine districts of the state.
A public campaign led by AMADA and CADA will continue to mount pressure on the state government to fulfil these demands.