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Drug users ‘paraded naked’ in Manipur; outrage triggered

IMPHAL: Three drug users who have “abstained from drug use for quite some time” were apprehended by members of Realize Rehabilitation Centre (RRC) and paraded naked in broad daylight on the pretext of searching for drugs in Senapati district of Manipur, said the Drug Users Federation for Human Rights and Justice.

The organization claims that the alleged incident took place at Koubru Leikha on March 31 around 4 pm while the recovering addicts were on their way back to Imphal after celebrating Holi at Koubru Leikha.

In the statement, it was claimed that members of the rehabilitation centre forcibly made the recovering addicts get down from their Maruti 800 vehicle and take off their clothes to “check for the presence of drugs.”

The three victims later told the media that they were forcibly made to remove their clothes in the middle of the road by the staff and members of Realize Rehabilitation Centre.

The victims said that such an act of human rights violation should be seriously dealt with and demanded stringent actions against the staff of the rehabilitation centre at the earliest.

Salam Berlin, Convenor of the Drug Users Federation for Human Rights and Justice, who was also present during the press briefing, informed that the federation intervened in the matter.

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He continued that a team of the Federation found that the centre had indulged in forcibly picking up drug users in the name of providing drug treatment facilities against the wishes and consent of the drug users and their families.

Berlin added that the federation team also recovered many wooden sticks used in beating the clients.

Berlin further informed that in the course of their forcible pick up activities they also used/misused several applications written to the district SPs/SP NAB and officers in charge of different police stations across the State seeking assistance in their bid to rehabilitate drug users.

Berlin, while mentioning that the officials of RRC admitted their fault during the meeting yesterday, said that the Social Welfare Department and all other departments concerned have been time and again apprised of the prevailing issue and human rights violation of the drug users community in and outside drug treatment centres.

“We will be compelled to take up stringent actions on our own accord, to the extent of closing down rehab centres and also drag all concerned to the Court very soon”, he warned. Moreover, various sorts of agitations including rally and sit-in-protests will also be carried out to draw the attention of the authority concerned, he added.

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