Azad Khan killed in fake encounter: Inquiry report

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Manipur, IMPHAL, Sept 10: An inquiry report submitted to the Gauhati High Court (GHC) has said that Md Azad Khan, about 14 years of age and a resident of Phoubakchao Makha Leikai was killed in a fake encounter by a combined force on March 4, 2009.

It may be stated that Garamjan Bibi, resident of Phoubakchao Makha Leikai which comes under Mayang Imphal Police Station and mother of the deceased had filed a petition to the GHC that her son Md Azad Khan, a class VII student of Phoubakchao High School was murdered in a fake encounter.

According to her petition, her son was with his friend namely Kiyam Anand Singh, aged about 14 years on the said date. At the time some commando personnel rushed inside their residence and apprehended her son. They tied him up and started beating him and questioned his friend Anand, why he was with him. They mentioned that Azad was an underground activist and brandished a weapon which was supposed to belong to Azad.

Azad was dragged out to an adjacent field and shot dead there. Later, a commado personnel had thrown a pistol near the dead body. Afterward, his corpse was taken away by the police for post mortem.

Regarding the incident, a written report was lodged to the Mayang Imphal Police Station OC by one Md Ahrat Ali.

The security personnel had countered the petition mentioning that, on receipt of information of People United Liberation Front members were present at the area. A team of 21 Assam Rifles and Thoubal commandos had rushed into the area. At the spot, they saw two youths moving suspiciously. On being commanded to stop, both fled the area while firing towards the security personnel. In the ensuing firefight, one was killed and another escaped. The slain outlaw was identified as Md Azad Khan, a handgun with live ammunition was recovered from his possession.

Both representations were heard and the GHC on 15 June ,2009 issued a directive to a lower court for inquiry into the matter.

The inquiry had examined ten eyewitness stating that the case was a fake encounter in 2011. Six security personnel allegedly involved were further examined in January 2012.

The inquiry of the witnesses from the petitioner side wielded hard facts that Azad was shot by the commandos after capture. However, there were some irregularities while examining the commandos and AR personnel. According to the commandos, the news was given on the phone to them and according to the AR Jawans, a joint briefing was held among the commandos and them regarding the operation.

Their comments also contradicted further as the commandos mentioned that the AR fired first and the AR personnel on being examined mentioned that the commandos fired towards the suspects before.

In view of the cross examinations , Salam Imocha Singh,the District Judge of Manipur West in his report mentions that Md Azad was dragged out by the commandos and later shot to death in the adjoining field. The report of the judge was delivered on July 31, 2012.

It may be mentioned that the killing of Md Azad had sparked violent protests from the Muslim Community and it remains to be seen what ruling the GHC will have in the issue.

The case on behalf of the petitioners was represented by Human Right Law Network officials, Rakesh Meihoubam among others.

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