IMPHAL, April 4: The Supreme Court-appointed probe committee led by Justice Santosh Hegre as the Chairman has found 6 encounter killings in the state to be fake.
The report of the Commission for six cases of alleged extrajudicial killings randomly chosen from a list of 1528 such cases The Supreme Court on January 4 had decided to appoint the committee to hold an inquiry into the alleged fake encounter killings in Manipur.
The panel was set up to probe six cases of alleged extra- judicial killings in the Northeast state where magisterial inquiries had raised questions on the genuineness of the encounters.
The apex court had appointed the panel following a PIL filed by the Extra-Judicial Execution Victim Families Association, Manipur (EVFAM) an association of the families of the alleged victims and the Human Rights Alert, seeking for the setting up of a Special Investigation Team and direct inquiry into 1,528 such cases.
The petition had stated that no one has been found guilty.
A bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai studied the committee`s report which said none of the six cases qualify as encounters and they are fake. Guidelines by the apex court in the Naga People`s Movement case , NHRC, Manipur government and Army headquarters have all been confined to papers and none of it is followed on the ground when armed forces conduct operations, the bench said.
It said the Hegde committee report is distressing and the Union government should be blamed more than the state government for the situation there
Following the developments at the Supreme Court today, Babloo Loitongbam, HRA Executive Director briefed the media at its office told the gathering that when the past antecedents of the seven victims were examined, the Commission established that none of the victims had earlier criminal records.
“Now, the outcome has to be 100 percent justice as the Commission has found that the six cases were 100 percent fake encounters,” he added.
He then expressed his optimism that the Supreme Court would come out with befitting judgement over the fake encounters happening in the state over a prolonged period of time. “The purpose of selecting six cases randomly by the Apex court was to find out what the petitioners are filing is true or not. Now that the Commission has found that it is true, we hope that Special Investigation Team is established here by Supreme Court for the investigations of all the cases,” Babloo said.
We are little unhappy that the Defence Minister, Home Minister and Manipur government were given the report submitted by the Commission to the Supreme Court but the same was denied when sought by the Counsel of the petitioners, Babloo continued.
He then said the Commission has conveyed what is the truth to the Supreme Court and that appropriate directions will be passed on the basis of the panel`s report on April 9, 2013.
Validating that justice would be served, Baloo expressed his appreciation to various civil society organizations, public spirited lawyers and the witnesses who braved to speak the truth on behalf of the HRA and EEVFAM for their support and cooperation.
During the press meet Renu Takhellambam, President EEVFAM appreciated Colin Gonsalves; Mukul Sinha, Counsel of the petitioners; HRA and the Human Rights Law Network for their cooperation. She went on to say, “From the proceedings of the Commission, we have seen that that there is a huge gap on the side of the police department. Now that the truth will be revealed, security forces have to think twice before killing a person and think that there is law and justice.”
Neena Ningombam, Secretary EEVFAM said the security personnel had neither felt remorse nor worry in killing people. “What they only see is the Gallantry award. We are happy that they will be made to realize that such acts are not right. If we had taken up the cases earlier, then many lives could be saved.”
The step of the Commission will surely save many lives in the future. We are eagerly waiting the decision of the Supreme Court and hope that it will deliver justice to the people, she added.
It may be mentioned that the six cases picked at random from the submitted list of 1528 cases of alleged extra judicial killing included the killing of a 14-year-old boy, Md Azad Khan by a joint team of police and Assam Rifles on March 4, 2009, after he was reportedly picked up from his house in Imphal West.
The second case involved the killing of Khumbongmajum Orsonjit (19), by a police team after he was picked up from his house while third case involved the killing of two cousins, Nameirakpam Nobo (27), and Nameirakpam Govind (25), in Imphal East after they were picked up from their house by the police and the Assam Rifles.
The fourth involved the killing of Elangbam Kiranjit (22), after being picked up by a joint Assam Rifles-police team on April 23, 2009 in Thoubal district.
The fifth case was that of Chongtham Umakanta (24), of Imphal West, was killed after being picked up from a friend’s house on May 4, 2009 while the sixth case was that of Akoijam Priyobrata (25), who was killed after being picked up by a joint team of the police and security forces on March 15, 2009.