Regional

Drug users stripped in broad daylight in Manipur

Correspondent IMPHAL, APR 4 | Publish Date: 4/4/2021 12:03:23 PM IST

After a recent incident of alleged naked parading of drug users, a conglomerate of bodies of drug users in Manipur on Sunday demanded befitting action against rehab centres indulging in force pick- up of drug users.

Drug Users Federation for Human Rights and Justice, a conglomerate of bodies working for the welfare and de-addiction of the drug users alleged that three drug users (recovering addicts) were apprehended by four members of Realize Rehabilitation Centre, Mongjam Chingjin and paraded naked in broad daylight on the pretext of searching for any drugs in their possession on March 31 last.

The incident took place at Koubru Leikha in Kangpokpi district while the three former drug users, riding on two different bikes, were returning to Imphal after enjoying holi festival at Koubru Leikha. 

Addressing a press conference here today, the victims who are former drug users alleged that they were suddenly stopped in  the middle of the road by the members of the rehabilitation centre who came on a car (Maruti 800) without giving them any reason.

They then began to search for any drugs in their possession. Not being satisfied with the mere search in their pockets, the members forcibly made them take off their clothes in the middle of the road. 

After no drugs were found in their possession, they allowed them to leave for their respective homes, the federation alleged.

Convenor of the federation, Salam Berlin termed the incident as a gross violation of human rights and demanded that the concerned state social welfare department should take up befitting actions against the rehab centre.

The convenor said that the federation said that the incident came to light after the victims lodged a complaint with them. Based on the complaint, a team of the federation visited the rehab centre on Saturday and met with the officials of the centre.

He alleged that the centre was indulging in force pick up drug users and kept them in their custody in the name of providing drug treatment facilities much against the wishes and consent of the drug users and their families. 

The authority of the centre also gave the staff the liberty to physically assault any of the clients as and when desired, he alleged. 

Berlin lamented that the federation had on many occasions brought up the matter of force pick up of drug users to the pertinent authorities of the state social welfare department and also other departments concerned while urging intervention on the  prevailing issue and human rights violation of drug users community in and outside drug treatment centres. 

“As no necessary intervention was made till date, we will be compelled to take up stringent actions on our own accord, like closure of the rehab centres in such illegal activities. We will drag them to the court,” he said.

Moreover, various forms of agitations including rally and sit-in-protest will be carried out to draw the attention of the authority concerned, he added.

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