SC reiterates concern over Manipur encounter killings

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NEW DELHI, April 9 (Agencies): The Supreme Court today reiterated its concern over the alleged fake encounters in Manipur during its hearing of a Public Interest Litigation, which says more than 1,500 fake encounter killings have taken place in the state in the last three decades. The plea also demands a probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT).

“We can`t tell you how sorrowful we are. What is the use of sitting here? Everything appears meaningless,” the Supreme Court said today.

The Supreme Court in January had appointed a three-member committee headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice Santosh Hegde to examine six cases of encounter killings that took place between 2009 and 2010. The committee in its report had said that the encounters, which resulted in killing of seven people, were fake and the victims did not have any criminal background. The committee also reportedly recommended withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in the state.

The Supreme Court has sought responses from the National Human Rights Council (NHRC) and the Centre. The NHRC had asked the Supreme Court to prosecute those responsible for these killings. The court had asked an NHRC team to visit Manipur.

The Centre today told the Supreme Court that Justice Hegde commission`s report will be placed before the Cabinet committee on security, headed by the PM. The Centre also assured the court it will come up with a list of Dos and Don`ts for the security forces deployed in Manipur. It has asked for four weeks` time to submit its reply.

The Manipur government had asked the Supreme Court to lay down guidelines in the case. The Supreme Court slammed the demand, saying, “How many times has this court laid down guidelines? Tragedy is guidelines are not followed. We want to proceed further and these things should not happen in future. These deaths reveal a pattern of carelessness. There is no respect for human lives.”

The Centre had earlier opposed the formation of a commission to probe the alleged fake encounters and had pitched for an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The Supreme Court had rejected the appeal.

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