Amid outcries, CM assures action on hand-cuff row

IMPHAL, 15th Oct: Even as human rights and teachers’ organisations censured police authorities over hand-cuffing of an arrested teacher of Manipur University when brought for medical examination, chief minister N Biren assured that suitable action would be initiated against those police officers and personnel for their outrageous conduct.
Responding to queries after a reception function held in his honour at Raj Bhavan on Monday, Biren informed that the police department has been advised to minutely examine the case and ensure that necessary measures are taken up to initiate disciplinary action.
While stating that the teacher in question was among Manipur University professors and students rounded up with the intention to restore normalcy in the university, the chief minister regretted that the police team who put hand-cuff on the teacher has sparked undesired controversy.
Further noting that the fresh upheaval could have been averted had the police team taken into account sensitive nature of the issue at hand, Biren asserted that regardless of the home department officials stating that no formal report over hand-cuffing of the teacher has been received due instructions have been given to peruse the matter.
Moreover, home department authority has been told to take action in case police team acted indiscreetly or had not consulted senior officers, he maintained.
With regard to the persistent demands for unconditional release of the jailed teachers and students, Biren contended that the government is ‘helpless’ as the case is now a legal matter.
Even though release of the detained persons will depend on the wisdom and discretion of the court the government is studying every angle to secure early release of the arrested persons, he assured.
Biren also confided about him and MU administrator Jarnail Singh discussing about legality of the issue earlier Monday and means to avert recurrence of agitation in the university.
Further stating that issue could get complicated in case the complainant approaches the higher court, he informed that Jarnail Singh has been urged to meet the complainant so as to settle the matter out of court.
The government never takes the MU community as adversaries and always keeps the door open for a meaningful dialogue to end the MU row, he said and added that as law abiding citizens no one should try to cross the limit.
Voicing strong condemnation against the police hand-cuffing arrested teachers of Manipur University when they were brought to hospital for health check-up on Sunday, Committee on Human Rights (COHR), Manipur and All Manipur College Teachers’ Association (AMCTA) said that such inhumane conduct on the part of police is outright violation of existing national and international norms.
In a statement, AMCTA joint secretary (publicity) Dr M Imocha informed that an emergency executive committee meeting of the association held Monday condemned the police conduct in the strongest term.
The meeting held with AMCTA president M Lokendra Singh in the chair expressed extreme shock and utmost anguish that the teachers of Manipur University were brought to the hospital for medical examination with their hands locked with hand-cuffs.
Such inhumane treatment of the teachers as if they were hardened criminals is akin to humiliating the entire teacher community before the public, the statement opined and criticised bid to demean the teachers.
On the other-hand, a COHR statement issued by its publicity secretary G Dayananda Sharma, while decrying hand-cuffing of the teachers who needed medical examination, said that such inhumane conduct on the part of the police was total violation of human rights as enshrined under Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India and also an affront to international humanitarian laws upheld by the United Nations.
As the teachers and students were arrested in connection with the on-going impasse at Manipur University there was no justification in handcuffing the ailing teachers when brought for medical check-up at JNIMS hospital on Sunday, the committee expressed.
Not ruling out the possibility that the humiliation caused to the teachers might be under a larger conspiracy enacted by the jail authorities and Manipur police to project the arrested Manipur University teachers and students in poor light as well as tarnish the image of the teacher community, COHR contended that police arrogance had come to the fore when raids were conducted in MU hostels and professors’ quarters.
Continuous defiance to persistent demands from various sections of the society for withdrawal of security from MU campus also substantiates the suspicion that militarisation of the highest centre of learning in the state is part of a nefarious scheme to suppress human rights and right to education.
The committee statement also pointed out that the Supreme Court of India had passed judgments in the past that directed Central and state authorities to initiate disciplinary actions against those police personnel who hand-cuff any person in public places. Moreover, Indian law elaborately explains that carrying a person under handcuff will be taken as demeaning human to the status of animal, the COHR statement said and appealed to the state government to ensure release of the arrested teachers and students to pave the way for restoring normalcy in Manipur University.

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