Making rebels out of innocents

Manipur denies a woman govt job on questionable grounds


Malem Ningthouja | March 19, 2013

In a rare happening that questions the highhanded attitude of those who enjoy power, a crime theory has been framed by the government against an innocent to obtain legal sanctity in support of the deliberate denial of job. The victim is Brinda, a job aspirant who ranked 34th in the prestigious Manipur public service commission (MPSC) exams.

Brinda, a 33-year-old lawyer and mother of two children, appeared in MPSC exams 2010. The preliminary exams were on September 11, 2011, the main exam on February 6-22, 2012 and the interview on August 3. The result declared on September 22 ranked her 34th in order of merit among 138 successful candidates. On September 27, she received a letter of offer for appointment to the post of Manipur police service. On October 1 she conveyed acceptance of the offer and an oath allegiance. But the appointment list of December 15 missed out her name.

Brinda submitted several petitions for official clarification on the matter in December. One was to the commissioner (DP) on 17th, the chief secretary of Manipur and chief minister on 18th, to the deputy CM on 22nd and rest were sent on 26th. After there was no reply, she approached the supreme court. On this the chief secretary sent a memorandum to Brinda, dated January 10, 2013 which was received only in the last week of the month; probably back-dated as normally postal delivery within a one-km distance between Brinda’s house and the secretariat office takes a maximum of three days.

Meanwhile, the director general of police of Manipur, Y Joykumar on February 7 gave a verbal assurance to Brinda that the CM had decided to appoint her and a cabinet meeting that would be held the following day would pass her appointment order. As her appointment did not take place Brinda filed a writ petition to the Guwahati high court on February 18.

Officially, Brinda is not appointed for two reasons. First, she is the daughter-in-law of Sanayaima (whose other name is RK Meghen), chairman of the proscribed United National Liberation Front, who had been under National Investigation Agency (NIA) custody since November 2010. The allegation is that Brinda along with her mother-in-law and other family members had openly showed solidarity and support to Sanayaima when he was arrested by the NIA, thereby, showing sympathy towards the UNLF. The suspicion is that Brinda, if appointed as an MPS officer, will make the police vulnerable to the designs of the UNLF. Secondly, an FIR [No 270(5) 2012 IPS U/S 328/511/447/506/ 34 IPC] against Brinda is pending.

The above grounds are subject to criticism. First, Brinda, like many other individuals, relatives, civil society and political parties, had echoed the demand within the Indian constitutional framework for a writ of habeas corpus when Sanayaima had gone missing for 61 days. On the basis of that conclusion of her being in league with the activities of UNLF is a matter of fabrication and lacks legal substantiation. If the government suspects that Sanayaima continues to effectively operate as chairman of UNLF then the whole NIA team is to be suspected and not Brinda who lives in Manipur. The offer to her of a posting with the MPS was based on merit decided by the MPSC and was neither on her personal choice nor the decision of any outlawed organisation. Why was she not appointed to MCS or any other grade II job?

Secondly, the alleged pending FIR which is based on a complaint dated February 29, 2012 submitted by a mentally challenged person who happened to be a client of Brinda, did not mention her name. The police are yet to clarify the reasons for classifying the withdrawal application submitted by the same applicant. Brinda was granted bail as no prima facie facts and evidence could be established against her. According to Brinda, “If a pending FIR, not even charge-sheet, can be ground for non-appointment of a qualified person to a government job, then almost no one would be able to get an appointment as anybody can file an FIR against anyone, whether genuine or false.”

Brinda’s case gives substance to rumours of corruption and nepotism in the recruitment process. A woman was directly appointed to the MCS post under the pretext of compensating the murder of her husband while on duty in 2009. If persons with criminal background are not fit for government jobs, why had the government announced appointment of ex-underground cadres in the police? If the January 4 supreme court order vis-à-vis fake encounters in Manipur is effectively implemented the alleged criminal hub in the police department is likely to be exposed. Construing criminality of Brinda seems to be a tactic of diverting the judicial course and to cover up injustice.

Neha, the 13-year-old niece of Brinda, says, “Education is meaningless to us. The government has announced that we belong to a rebel family and my aunty who was on the merit list has been denied the job. Are we left out so that we become rebels after some time?” Neha’s humiliation and disappointment can create a stereotype and has a far-reaching psychological impact on several innocents who face discrimination, denial and harassment only because they have a friend, a relative or a dear one who has joined the insurgents.

Finally, it remains an issue whether putting the entire weight of injustice on innocent Brinda in particular and the family in general should be seen as chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh acting on personal reasons to avenge the assassination of his brother by the United National Liberation Front in 1996.



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