Late Sunday night, the Manipur government withdrew its order to confer a police medal for gallantry on Sub-Inspector Bheishamayum Debson Singh on August 13, or Patriots Day. The reason: Debson had been arrested with drugs worth more than Rs 3 crore in a government vehicle at the Myanmar border in 2013.
Debson was included in a list of 13 police officials who were to be awarded the ‘Chief Minister’s Police Medal for Gallantry’. The All Manipur Students Union (AMSU), a powerful students’ body, pointed out his involvement in the drug case and demanded an inquiry into his award. The government subsequently launched an inquiry and suspended Debson.
Debson, along with another S-I, were accused of leading an 11-member team transporting drugs to the Indo-Myanmar border town of Moreh in two government vehicles. The group had been arrested by a team of Manipuri Commandos of Thoubal district, which is en route to the international border.
The incident comes at a time when Chief Minister N Biren Singh is reiterating his “war on drugs” even as Additional SP of Narcotics and Affairs of Border has accused the CM — in an affidavit in Manipur High Court — of harbouring alleged drug trafficker Lhukhosei Zou, an elected BJP member from Chandel district, and putting pressure on her and her department to release him.
A PIL was filed in the High Court last week against Manipur state by Users Society for Effective Response (USER), a network of recovered and rehabilitated drug users as well as current drug users, Human Rights Alert and journalist Dhanonjoy Aribam Sharma, who has been investigating the drug racket in the state. It has demanded that the Zou matter be handed over to the CBI or NIA and that all future drug cases be handled by central agencies.
The matter will come up for hearing on Tuesday.