At Khudengthabi check post, the patient was not detained for 20 minutes, as claimed by the deceased person family and the Civil society organisation. Assam Rifles posted at Khudengthabi has clarified that the ambulance moving from Moreh towards Imphal was not detained as claimed by the patient party and the news circulating in local media. As per Chongthu News Service report, Assam Rifles was quoted saying, ” On 30 July 2022, an ambulance moving from Moreh towards Imphal reached Permanent Vehicle Check Post (PVCP) at approximately 10:16 hour. The complete procedure of checking and ascertaining the Nationality of patient and attendants was completed within 80 seconds as per the laid out preferential treatment policy. Detail timelines of the same are as given below:-
(a) 10:16:10 hr to 10:16:20 hr – Ambulance arrived at PVCP and driver informed troops on ground.
(b) 10:16:20 hr to 10:17:20 hr – Complete check carried out and ambulance free to move.
(c) 10:17:34 hr – Attendant claims the patient passed away and troops trying to assess it.”
It further mentioned that once the troops received the news of demise of patient travelling inside the ambulance, all assistant was again provided to the ambulance and Next of Kin (NOK) travelling with the patient. The ambulance was not asked to move from the road keeping in view the sentiments of NOK to reconcile with the unfortunate incident and also that they were still deciding upon whether to move to Imphal or back to Moreh.
The deceased identified as Paukhenkhup Lethil @Khenkhup (60) of Phaicham veng, Moreh, Tengnoupal district, was admitted at Moreh Sub Divisional Hospital on 29th July, 2022 and was later refer to lmphal on 30 July, 2022. Seriously ill patient – Khenkhup was transported towards Imphal in a Moreh hospital ambulance.
Normally, the PVCP, Khudengthabi check post is the only mandated check post on NH-102 for controlling and stopping any kind of war like stores and illegal contraband items moving from Myanmar to India. The check post is also mandated to stop illegal movement of Myanmar Nationals trying to reach Imphal and beyond due to various reasons like Security sit in Myanmar, better economic opportunity in India etc. In last 10 months, PVCP has successfully thwarted movement of 46 Myanmar Nationals who were trying to move to Imphal without any valid documents.
The procedure for checking at PVCP is streamlined where preferential treatment is given to sick, women, children, elderly people and govt officials. Any ambulance moving through this PVCP is only checked for documents of individuals moving in it. Since the beginning of this year, a total of 19 ambulances have moved through it without any hindrance even after the closing of PVCP as per its laid down timings. The check post is always open for movement of needy even after its mandated time.
The orders of checking of patients movement from Myanmar to Imphal via road are being carried out as per Manipur Govt Letter no. H-1701/330/2021-HD-HD dated 19 Apr 2022 and Govt of India (MHA) letter No 25022/21/2022-F.IV dated 22 Mar 2022. The troops deployed at PCVP are well aware of human sentiments, sensitivities and give their best to honour the same. The unit had given its recommendations to State and Central govt for allowing passage of Myanmar patients via roadd based on humanity grounds, however the same was turned down. The troops at PVCP were carrying out their mandated task as per the Central and State govt orders mentioned above.
The unfortunate incident is solemnly attributed to the bad fortune and the condition of patient who was suffering from ‘Hypoglycemic Shock’ with a SPO2 level of 67%. It’s really doubtful that seeing the critical condition of patient if these additional 60 secs would have saved the individual’s life, keeping in mind the destination hospital was yet more than minimum 2 hr 30 min away.
The driver of the Ambulance and deceased family has blamed the Assam Rifles that they were delayed for about 20 minutes by the Assam Rifles at Khudengthabi check point. However, the 20th Assam Rifles denied delaying ambulance for 20 minutes. The AR officer said that the troops on duty rushed to the Ambulance and done the work in less than two minutes.
The Assam Rifles claimed that the Ambulance was given full priority. It was checked in road, not even asked to park on side. And the troops are rushing to get work done faster as seen in the video released to the public.
Earlier, the Hill Tribal Council, Moreh Youth Club, Kuki Students’ Organization Moreh Block, Kuki Women Union for Human Rights and Kuki Khanglai Lawmpi Moreh block issued a joint press release in connection with the incident.
The press release stated that public harassment in the form of getting delayed at this Khudengthabi check post is a regular affair. Complains and suggestions have been given to the concern authority time and again as regards the need to introduce a systematic checking at the check post where in the prevailing condition, vehicles be it commercial, non-commercial or passenger, patients etc are meted equal dealing thereby causing unnecessary delay to travellers. The delay this time has cost the life of a man.