HC issues notices to state govt and Assam Rifles
High Court of Manipur issued notices to Assam Rifles authorities and state government over the occupation of a health centre by the para-military force for more than two decades.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice Rakesh Ranjan Prasad and Justice Songkhupchung Serto of the high court issued the notices after hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed against the occupation of the health centre by the force.
The PIL was filed by Timothy Wijunamai, a villager of Thonglang Atongba in Senapati district against the Assam Rifles’ occupation of the primary health sub-centre located at Thonglang village in the same district.
The petitioner in his petition prayed for restoration of the health care services of the centre by removing the Assam Rifles post from the health centre. After hearing the submission of the counsel for the petitioner, Meihoubam Rakesh the high court issued notices to the respondents.The notice is returnable within three weeks.
The respondents include Manipur government Union home ministry, defence ministry and the Commanding Officer of 25 Assam Rifles. Rakesh said the high court took serious cognisance of the issue and expressed shock that for the last 22 years, the villagers have been deprived of public health care delivery services of the centre.
Rakesh submitted that in 1994 during the Naga-Kuki ethnic clashes, personnel of the Assam Rifles opened its camp at the Centre and they continued to use the entire premises of the health centre as their post till today.
The health centre is supposed to cater health care services to a population of 8400 approximately, residing in 13 hill villages. The state government has not made an alternative arrangement for the functioning of the health centre, Rakesh said.
As a result the villagers are compelled to go to the Kangpokpi community health centre and district hospital in Senapati, 22 kms away by spending huge amount of money for hiring private vehicles to transport sick villagers.
The petition was filed at the initiation of Human Rights Law Network, Manipur unit. Rakesh is the director of the Manipur unit.