IMPHAL: Local Meira Paibis of Luwangshangbam and volunteers of CADA on Tuesday morning seized a large quantity of tobacco products allegedly belonging to a local MLA.
According to reports, the incident occurred around 5:30 in the morning when morning walkers, some of whom belong to the local Meira Paibis, came across a truck being escorted by IRB personnel. Being suspicious of the movement and the escort by the IRB personnel, the Luwangshangbam Apunba Meira Paibi Lup (LAMPL) along with officials of CADA carried out a drive at the property of Laishram ongbi Purnima Devi (62), W/o (L) Laishram Birchandra in the area.
During the raid, a large quantity of tobacco products numbering about 130 large boxes consisting of Talab, Zarda and Khaini and other brands were successfully seized from the residence.
Luwangshangbam Apunba Meira Paibi Lup and CADA volunteers along with youths destroyed the tobacco products by consigning it to flames at a spot near the foothills at Luwangshangbam later in the day.
The quantity of tobacco items they came across were so much that it took 2 tractors and one Tata DI truck to ferry out the complete products outside of the compound. Making estimation from the volume occupied, the seized tobacco products will mostly likely match a full load of a public carrier truck.
Talking to media persons, a leader of the Meira Paibi said that as per the information provided by Purnima the seized intoxicants belong to a MLA but that she would not reveal the name.
The information came as a huge disappointment to the women vigilantes whose social role is designed to take a no hold back war on intoxicants. On the involvement of the local MLA, the women said in a sarcastic tone that amidst this pandemic situation, MLA/Ministers doing business on tobacco products and escorting the vehicles with security personnel has clearly proven the mission ‘War on Drug’.
Let us not make the lockdown and curfew an ideal environment for smooth business of drug/tobacco for high profile officials provided with escorts/security personnel, they implored with contempt.
Some of the women complained as to why a public place was converted into a godown to store intoxicants and further asked whether or not the import of such products should be counted as a possible route to spread Covid-19 further.
However, according to additional information Purnima had retracted her claim that an MLA was the owner of the tobacco products explaining that she had mentioned it in a state of nervousness and partly convinced that the name dropping will develop second thoughts in the minds of those who have ambushed her residence to recover the intoxicants and force them to retreat.
Incidentally, the area falls under Heingang assembly constituency which is represented chief minister N Biren.