Guwahati: Thonaujam Brinda, a decorated Manipur police officer who was awarded the Chief Minister’s Police Medal for Gallantry in 2018 for her contribution in curbing smuggling activities in the state, returned her medal Friday. The recognition was part of the chief minister’s ‘War against Drugs’ initiative.
Brinda’s decision comes a day after the Special Court (ND & PS) Manipur acquitted Lhukosei Zou, a former chairman of the Autonomous District Council (ADC), Chandel and six others in the 2018 drug haul case.
Brinda, an assistant superintendent of police, was instrumental in Zou’s arrest in a major operation launched by Manipur Police in 2018. She was also awarded the Chief Minister’s Commendation Certificate in 2019.
Speaking to ThePrint after the court verdict Thursday, Brinda said, “My charges against the system are hence proved.”
She had made news earlier this year for her allegations against the Chief Minister, of directly, and through his senior officials, “piling pressure” on her to release Zou.
In a letter addressed to Chief Minister N. Biren Singh Friday, Brinda wrote: “I feel morally inclined that I have not conducted my duty as ‘per the wishes’ of the Criminal Justice Delivery System of the land. Hence, for the reason cited above, I do not consider myself deserving of the honour bestowed upon me by your good self. I, therefore, return the same to the State Home Department so that it may be given to a more deserving and loyal police officer.”
‘War on Drugs is only an eyewash’
A 2012 Manipur Police Service officer, Brinda is facing contempt proceedings (suo moto) by the Manipur High Court for her “derogatory, defamatory and contemptuous” remarks on Facebook, allegedly undermining and criticising the judiciary after Zou was granted interim bail on 21 May.
In an affidavit filed on 13 July, in response to the contempt charges filed against her, Brinda had referred to the judge as “biased, incompetent, and lacking in integrity while dealing with the bail matter”.
She had also mentioned: “The menace of drugs is never taken seriously by the present system. The ‘War on Drugs’ is only an eyewash coined by the present system to gain political mileage.”
Earlier this year, Brinda was also detained by police along with two others for allegedly defying Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in Imphal.
In July, Brinda had said that her house was surrounded by armed police personnel and officials in civilian clothes in the name of providing security to her 76-year-old father-in-law, Rajkumar Meghan, who was the chairman of the Manipur-based insurgent group United National Liberation Front. Meghen had returned to Manipur after 44 years in November last year, after being released from the Guwahati Central Jail.
Brinda Friday confirmed to ThePrint that her house was still surrounded by security forces.