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Kuki insurgent groups violated ground rules of SoO agreement, alleges Manipur CM; officials say withdrawal of AFSPA hindering operations

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on Monday said Union Home Minister Amit Shah had promised that the Centre would ensure the implementation of the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with Kuki insurgent groups in the hill areas.

The pact requires the insurgent groups to remain in designated camps with weapons under lock and key. The Chief Minister alleged that the Kuki insurgent groups violated ground rules of the SoO pact and instigated violence.

“The Home Minister said the Centre will provide maximum support to implement ground rules applicable to SoO groups and also asked me to explain to the valley people to maintain peace,” Mr. Singh told The Hindu on Monday, a day after he met Mr. Shah in Delhi.

The Chief Minister said that out of the State’s 10 hill districts, violence was reported only in three — Kangpokpi, Tengnoupal and Churachandpur — and in three districts of the valley.

A defence source, however, said the SoO camps were regularly checked, and all weapons, except two were found to be intact during inspection in the past two months.

The National Medical Commission (NMC) has withdrawn the recently issued Graduate Medical Education Regulations, 2023 for MBBS admissions.

The guidelines, issued on June 12, included the new rules on competency-based medical education (CBME) curriculum, recruitment of manpower for research facilities in a medical college, admission of students under disabled category, and format for submission of information for admissions.

Days after the Maharashtra police rescued 11 labourers who were allegedly kept chained by a contractor in Osmanabad district, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to the State government, and sought a detailed report in the matter from the Chief Secretary and the Director-General of Police within four weeks.

The NHRC had observed that the Provisions of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, had been grossly violated by the contractor. The incident clearly indicated the failure of the local administration to safeguard the labourers from such brutality committed upon them by the contractors, without any fear of the law.

The workers had been kept chained and forced to work 12 hours a day, without any wages, digging a well for the accused. They had been given food just once a day and were forced to relieve themselves inside the well.

The labourers were rescued on June 17 after one of them managed to sneak out and reach his village in Hingoli district and inform the police about the torture.

Reports say that the contractors were habitual in deploying these tactics while engaging labourers for three to four months. When released from such conditions, the workers preferred running away without asking for wages than risking the chance of further torture.

The commission maintained that it was necessary for the administration to start proceedings in the case as per labour laws to ensure that the labourers were properly released and relief and rehabilitation laid down under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, were provided to them without delay.

“It is also required on the part of the District Magistrate, Osmanabad, to ensure strict compliance of the labour laws for the safety and security of the labourers working under contractors in the area,” the commission said.

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