Court orders OC to register FIR against CO of 34 AR

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Imphal, June 12 2017: Judicial Magistrate First Class, Imphal West I, Alek Muivah has directed the OC of Sekmai police station to register an FIR against the Commanding Officer of 34th Assam Rifles and other personnel involved in the brutal torture of an alleged PREPAK (Pro) cadre and to submit the action taken report on or before June 30 .

The order comes just a day after a news item of an alleged cruel and brutal third degree torture of one alleged PREPAK (Pro) cadre/ victim for two consecutive days in Assam Rifles custody, came to light.

The order mentioned that on June 6, after initial remand for five days in police custody, the victim, Wareppam Basanta, was produced before the Court by the Investigating Officer of the case, SDPO Lamphel, Okramcha Wangkhomba, seeking judicial custody remand of the victim.

It pointed out that Basanta was produced in a visibly very weak state and was unable to even sit upright on the Court dock and even filed a petition praying before the Court to release him on bail.

The Court, on that day, heard the APP of the State and the defense counsel of the victim and perused the remand petition along with the relevant police paper including remand objection.

As per the record, Basanta was arrested by 34th Assam Rifles on June 1 at around 11 am from Pheidinga on the charge of being a member of PREPAK (Pro) along with a 9 mm pistol and a magazine with three live bullets.

According to the order, the AAP of the State submitted that Basanta had disclosed that he was arrested by CDO and Assam Rifles on three other occasions but was released on bail and have been working as a reserved van driver in and around Imphal bazar area.

It further stated that the defense counsel, on that day, submitted that the seized pistol and ammunition were planted by the Assam Rifles and that the victim was severely tortured by the 34th Assam Rifles in their custody.

The defense counsel had submitted that the victim’s life was in danger if he was not treated immediately and produced five photographs showing all the bruise marks on different parts of the victim’s body along with a prayer for the victim to be released on bail.

The Court had perused the statement of the victim recorded by the JIC Kangla on June 3 in relation with the case where the victim alleged that he was arrested by the 34th Assam Rifles on May 30 at around 10 am while he was on his way to RIMS from Shija Hospitals to attend to his ailing father.

In the statement, the victim had disclosed that he was inhumanely tortured by the security personnel who blind folded him and inflicted cuts on his private parts and even rubbed king chilly (u morok) on the fresh wounds, eyes, nose, mouth and anus.

He had also alleged that the Assam Rifles personnel threatened to kill him if he did not confess to be a cadre of PREPAK (Pro) in front of the police, it added.

During the proceeding, the Court viewed that the victim required urgent medical attention not judicial detention at that stage and released the victim on bail after a bail bond of Rs 30,000 with one surety was furnished.

The Court order mentioned that in light of the serious allegation of custodial torture meted out by the 34th Assam Rifle, it cannot remain a mere spectator to blatant violation of one’s fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India and direction issued by the Supreme Court of India.

It further stated that if the present allegation of custodial torture against the 34th Assam Rifles is found to be true, it will be a gross abuse of fundamental rights in the guise of exercising power under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the same warrant investigation adding that no provision is found under the Act where the army are given the power to mete out inhuman torture to suspects in their custody.

The Court order directed OC Sekmai police station to register an FIR against the CO of the 34th Assam Rifles and other involved personnel and to submit the action taken report to the Court on or before June 30 .

It further directed the OC to collect the recording of the statement of the victim from the Judicial Magistrate.

The Court further directed the copies of the order to be sent to the Governor, Secretary to Home Minister, Registrar General High Court of Manipur, District and Session Judge Imphal West, Manipur police DGP and SP Imphal West.

Source: The Sangai Express

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