IMPHAL, September 4: The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today welcomed the decision of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to pay monetary relief of Rs 5 lakh each to the relatives of two victims of fake encounter killings by the 20th Assam Rifles in Chandel district of Manipur on June 1, 2009.
It may be mentioned that on June 19, 2009, ACHR had filed a complaint with the NHRC against the extrajudicial executions of Laishram Kishorjit and Soram Priyokumar by the 20th Assam Rifles led by Major Abishek Bharti at Maipi Angbrasu track in Chandel district of Manipur on the night of June 1, 2009.
Meanwhile, ACHR director Suhas Chakma while terming the NHRC decision as “a step in the right direction” has said in a press release that the NHRC while justifying its order for compensation, had stated after examining the report of the SDPO, Moreh, “According to it, the troops of 20th Assam Rifles led by major Abishek Bharti laid an ambush at Maipi and Angbrashu track on June 1, 2009 at night after receiving information about the movement of some armed valley based UG cadres in that area. The troops saw two persons moving in a suspicious manner on the said track which leads from Maipi and Angbrashu.”
It said the NHRC had continued, “On being challenged by the troops to stop, the two unidentified suspects brought down heavy volumes of automatic weapons fired upon the troops. The troops also retaliated in self defense. The encounter lasted for about 35 minutes and both the suspects were eliminated.”
After the encounter, during a search of the encounter site and the adjoining area one G-3 assault rifle with one live round in the chamber, two magazines of G-3 assault rifle, 19 rounds of G-3 assault rifle, one lathode with one live bomb in the chamber and one live bomb of lathode were recovered near the slain bodies, the NHRC had continued according to the ACHR statement.
Further according to the ACHR, NHRC continued, “It is further revealed by the report that the seized arms and ammunition were sent to FSL Pangei for chemical examination and the ballistic expert, who examined the same, opined that the seized arm i.e. 7.62 mm calibre G-3 rifle is not serviceable due to defective return spring and non-alignment of bolt extension and housing. It was also opined that the seized lathode gun is a 40mm calibre grenade launcher and its firing mechanism was working properly. It is further mentioned in the report that frantic efforts were made to establish involvement of the two deceased in U.G. activities but no specific information could be gathered in that regard.”
“The report forwarded by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India completely negates the possibility of an encounter. It is not the case of anyone that the lathode i.e. grenade launcher was used by any of the two deceased persons. As regards the 7.62 mm calibre G-3 rifle, the ballistic expert has opined that it was not in serviceable condition. If the grenade launcher was not used and the 7.62mm rifle was not serviceable, how the Assam Rifle personnel can claim that they were fired at by the deceased persons or that there was imminent danger to their life. Thus, we (NHRC) find that the Assam Rifle personnel were not fired at by any of the two deceased persons,” the NHRC had stated.
“We (NHRC) also find no evidence to even faintly suggest that the deceased persons were involved in underground activity. It appears that the two persons were spotted at a desolate track and they were shot dead on the basis of unfounded suspicion. It appears to be a case of extra judicial killing.”