IMPHAL: The Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) is still lacking behind in many sections including manpower, infrastructure, office space and various others since it was established on June 27, 1998 under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
The statement was made by acting-chairperson Khaidem Mani during a press conference held in connection with the 22nd foundation day of the commission at its office at Lamphelpat on Saturday.
Addressing media persons, Khaidem Mani listed some major cases taken up by the commission this year. MHRC complaint case no 21 and 22 of 2-018 resulted in the release of two Manipuris sentenced to life imprisonment after serving more than 21 years in prison after recommendation made by the commission guidelines on August 26, 2019; commission has taken up suo-moto case on increase of bandh, general strike and economic blockade in Manipur in its Suo-Moto case no 6 of 2019 proceeding dated 29th May of 2019; complaint on withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Power Acts, 1958 has been taken by the commission as its complaint case no 68 of 2020 for which notice has been issued; complaint on inclusion of Manipuri written language or Meitei Mayek in India’s currency note has been taken up as a complaint by the commission for which also notice has been issued; complaint case on issuing proper guidelines to Manipur police for proper functioning during Covid-19 pandemic has also taken up by the MHRC; several cases on distribution of essential items to public during Covid-19 pandemic; investigation of quarantine centres located in different parts of Manipur was also carried out by the commission for 10 days as requested by the High Court of Manipur the finding/report of which has been submitted to the court and complaint case has also been taken up by the commission on the issue of ratification of the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degradation Treatment of Punishment (UNCAT).
He further informed the commission under his leadership has taken up many landmark cases after its reconstitution despite facing acute shortage of finance and staff. The acute shortages of finance and staff are currently being addressed in discussion with the state government because of the tremendous efforts made by him. It was said that the commission has been continuously neglected over the years and was defunct for almost eight years and three months, and later reconstituted under the present government under N. Biren Singh on August 25, 2018, and he was appointed as its member cum acting-Chairperson by the Governor of Manipur on August 30, 2018, added Khaidem Mani.
It is said that after the commission reconstituted, he started functioning in different kinds of work at its best efforts at par with more resourceful commission in other states of India with the help of human rights activists, women teams forming two core committees. As per the power of commission, it formed two Core Committee comprising eight members namely, Committee on the NGOs and Human Rights Defender and a core committee of MHRC Core Committee on Women to look after the activities of women community, said the acting Chairpersons.
He also further stated that the commission is still yet to be recognized properly by the state government, related officials, citizens, human right activists and even by the media fraternity. The commission is a part of the institution, which must have four different divisions namely Administrative, Law division, Investigating and Researched and Analysis with 30-40 staff in every division. But the present commission is working with only 4-5 staff, which is so disappointing. He also informed that there is no proper infrastructure, man power, officials’ staff, except one LDC as of now, and actually the numbers of LDC should be 14 but they are still to be recruited till date. It is also said that after too much pressurization one under Secretary has been recruited as a part time. Till now there is no Stenographer, Accountant, PRO except the rental officials he ordered to fill up the said vacancy.
He said that he has informed the authorities to release their monthly payment for five months for those rental officials but is still to be released like his five months salary. The state government has ill-treated the commission though it has to work with a free environment without any disturbance for human rights protection.