AHRC issues urgent appeal on illegal arrest of Wangoi youth

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IMPHAL, Feb 23: The Hong Kong based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has issued a worldwide urgent appeal in connection with illegal arrest and subsequent disappearance of a youth hailing from Wangoi in Imphal West.
A release of Human Rights Alert said that the AHRC has issued the appeal with regard to the arrest of Longjam Suresh, son of Longjam Mangi of Pangal Siphai Mayai Leikai under Wangoi Police Station, Imphal West.
The appeal of AHRC mentioned that a team of military officers in combat uniform, suspected to be from 12 Maratha Light Infantry, came to Suresh`™s house at about 10 minutes to midnight on February 18. It is reported that the officers dragged Suresh out from his house. Hearing the scuffle, Suresh`™s father woke up. Mangi, when he saw the officers dragging out his demanded to know who the officers were, their identity, why they were taking his son away by force and to where. The officers refused to answer. They took Suresh to a nearby vehicle parked at the main road. It is reported that a passerby has witnessed Suresh sitting inside the vehicle.
It is also reported that the officers soon returned to Suresh`™s neighbour, Manglemba`™s house. The house is only few yards away from Suresh`™s house. The officers also brought Manglemba out of his house and also took him into the vehicle. Manglemba`™s cousin, Ritu, witnessed the incident. Both Ritu and Mangi alleged that the officers did not inform why they were taking Suresh and Manglemba into custody, where there are taken to and what is the identity of the officers who executed the arrest. They also claimed that both detainees were blindfolded immediately upon arrest.
According to the Criminal Procedure Code of India, 1974, the arresting officers are mandated to inform the person arrested, as well a person of choice as instructed by the arrested person, why the arrest is made, where the person will be detained and when he will be produced before a judicial officer and at what time and place. This information legally referred to, as the `arrest memo`, has to be in writing, made in duplicate and a copy of the same- after obtaining the signature of the person to whom the memo is served as instructed by the arrestee- has to be retained by the arresting officer. In this case, as it is the case in almost all cases reported from Manipur, such a memo was neither prepared nor served upon the witnesses to the arrest.
On the next day the families of both the victims tried to file a complaint at Wangoi Police Station informing the police about the arrest and seeking their help to find out where the two persons were detained. But the police refused to register a case on the basis of the complaint. Subsequently, the families filed another complaint to 12 Maratha Light Infantry stationed at Mayang Imphal Telecom Complex. The army denied any involvement in the incident. The local people formed a committee to help the relatives in the case. They filed a written complaint to the Chief Minister of Manipur, requesting him to order the state police to find out the whereabouts of Suresh and Manglemba.
It is reported that on February 20, Manglemba was left near the suburbs of Imphal town at a place called Koirengei. Manglemba claimed that he was blindfolded and his hands had been tied when the officers let him go. Manglemba later managed to come back home. Manglemba, however, had no idea that his neighbour was also arrested on the same day and was in the same vehicle in which he was driven away from his home. This was because both Suresh and Manglemba were blindfolded immediately after the arrest.
Suresh`™s family is concerned for his life, as it is common in Manipur for persons arrested in similar circumstances to be found dead after few days, the appeal stated.

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