The Imphal West Police on Tuesday alleged that police officer Thounaojam Brinda and two others had flouted lockdown norms put in place to rein in the spread of the coronavirus, reported Imphal Free Press. Brinda and her companions were temporarily detained for violating lockdown restrictions at Sangaiprou Lamkhai on Monday night.
Brinda, who has often been in the crosshairs of the state government, courted fresh controversy earlier this month when she accused Manipur chief minister of foiling an investigation against a former BJP functionary alleged to be involved in drug smuggling. The police officer made these allegations in an affidavit to the court which had initiated contempt proceedings.
The contempt charges were related to Brinda’s Facebook post, where she had allegedly questioned a special court’s decision to grant bail to the BJP functionary. Brinda is also accused of showing her middle finger to the judge – a charge she has denied in her affidavit.
On Tuesday, Inspector General of Police in Imphal K Jayanta said that the police were not surveilling Brinda and that there was no intention to target her, reported The Sangai Express. He was responding to Facebook posts Brinda had made after the detention.
“Me, Sonia Phairembam and Tenao have been detained since 12.40 am at Kwakeithel FCI Crossing by Imphal West Police on charge of violating curfew according to a report from Kakching Control Room,” Brinda had posted late on Tuesday. “My husband agreed to pay fine for curfew violation and let us women off as it is night but they have refused. Police are saying Lamphel Police is coming to arrest me. We are completely surrounded by armed policemen in uniform.”
She further alleged in the post that the police had refused to explain the charges for their detention, taken their statements, photographs and let off two hours later. Brinda also claimed to have been on a “drug trail” in a separate post.
Imphal West district Superintendent of Police K Meghachandra, in a statement, said that a female occupant of the car carrying Brinda had identified herself as the additional superintendent of police. However, an alert was raised after the vehicle drove away before appropriate verification.
The police have alleged that the occupants of the vehicle had refused to provide details of their travel and also exhibited hostile attitude, reported Imphal Free Press. Following this, Brinda was called in and the police team was allowed to inspect the vehicle.
“However, they did not disclose where they went in between as they took considerable time to cover the distance,” the police statement said. “The objective was to verify if they have visited any person in the containment zones particularly in the five districts they have visited yesterday.”
A challan was issued and Brinda was let go at 2.30 am, the police said. The statement further accused Brinda of going around five districts with her friends in an irresponsible way.
Following Brinda’s allegations against Chief Minister N Biren Singh, he had filed a petition in court. Singh had asked the court to pass an order restraining the police officer from making “defamatory” comments against him and the media from publishing them.
In a July 22 order, the court directed Brinda not to make “unsubstantiated and ex- facie defamatory” statements about the chief minister.