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Rights activist refuses to apologise

By Newmai News

IMPHAL, Feb 10 � Noted Manipur human rights activist, Babloo Loitongbam, who appeared before the Committee of Privileged and Ethics of Manipur Legislative Assembly yesterday, refused to tender his apology.

A controversial statement made by the human rights activist and Executive Director of Human Rights Alert against the 60 legislators of the State in the wake of a series of people�s protests demanding implementation of the Inner Line Permit System in Manipur, drew the attention of the State Assembly.

Babloo had made a �derogatory� remark against the 60 legislators, terming them as �mithibong mittambal (cowards)� during a programme broadcast on a private TV channel on July 22 last year, discussing about the issue related with the mass protest of the people demanding implementation of the ILP system in the State spearheaded by the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System.

Last year, he was summoned to attend the meeting of the Committee of Privileges and Ethics to discuss the status of the breach of privileges motion, which was moved by State Parliamentary secretary Vungzagin Valte and opposition member Dr I Ibohalbi of AITC during the Assembly session. Babloo was summoned to appear before the Committee during the session. However, he was out of station at that point of time. The case against him, therefore, was pending.

After attending the meeting, Babloo said that he appeared before the Committee after he was summoned regarding the privilege motion moved against him for his �mithibong mittambal� remark.

Admitting he indeed had made the remark, Babloo said he did not mean to disrespect the State Assembly but it was just an expression of �frustration over the alleged failure of the House to understand the aspirations of the public.�

The Committee asked him to tender an apology so as to close the chapter but he declined, sticking to his assertion that it was made out of frustration.

A source from the Assembly Secretariat said that the Committee of Privilege and Ethics will hold another meeting to discuss the matter following the rights activist�s refusal to tender an apology.

Babloo, however, will not be asked to attend the proposed meeting, the source said. It also refused to disclose what action is likely to be taken against Babloo, but said that a report regarding the breach of privilege will be presented in the Assembly during its scheduled session from February 25, so that the House can mull an appropriate action against him.

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