8th July 2015
The Centre for Organisation Research and Education expresses utter scorn for the extreme abuse of power and failure of the Home Department of Manipur to stem the disgraceful slide in the public affairs of Manipur. The reported fatal injury suffered by a young boy of 16 years, Sapam Robinhood Singh, S/o Romesh of Keishamthong Thangjam Leirak, presently residing at his mother’s home at Khurai Lairik Yengbam Leikai and studying in class XI (Science) at Ananda Singh Higher Secondary School, Nongmeibung was avoidable and preventable. He was reportedly shot with a tear gas shell on his left check at close range and was rushed to Public Hospital Hatta and was later referred to Raj Medicity, North AOC where he succumbed to the injuries inflicted by the Manipur Police. It has been reported that a large number of students numbering more than forty also sustained injuries and are undergoing treatment at various hospitals around Imphal.
The Manipur Police have been trained in the use of tear gas projectiles and mob control, as stated by official information from the Manipur Police Training College (MPTC) at Pangei. But this report seems to say the very opposite. A peaceful rally is not a mob. Use of fire power by the police is under the domain of the district administration. Who gave the order to fire tear gas projectiles at the students? Excessive and disproportionate use of power is, unfortunately, the character of the Manipur Police.
We condemn the totally unjustified abrupt imposition of indefinite curfew in the Great Imphal area from 3:30 PM of 8th July 2015, seeking excuses in an imagined deterioration of law and order, as a clear demonstration of the total failure of the state administration. Peaceful demonstrations and rallies are the very foundations of the democratic will of the people and the fundamental rights freedom of expression and assembly protected by the Indian Constitution, and not to be confused with deterioration of law and order. It is evident that the government of Manipur is not just anti-people but openly in contempt of the democratic principles of India.
It is paradoxical that the government of India entered into an international human rights treaty on civil and political rights and entered into an obligation to uphold, promote and protect these rights, but it is left to the civil society, children, students and human rights defenders to perform these obligations!
As we grieve with the family of Sapam Robinhood and all the injured young students, we demand an immediate lifting of this draconian curfew imposed in Imphal and the immediate establishment of an independent and fair judicial inquiry into the incident in order to fix responsibility and liability in accordance to the law.
[Dr. Laifungbam Debabrata Roy]
Press release from CORE, Manipur. They can be reached at [email protected]