IMPHAL | Jan 8
Manipur’s once-dreaded encounter specialist, head constable Thounaojam Herojit Singh has now moved the Supreme Court with a sensational disclosure that he was “witness to a large number of fake encounters in Manipur between 2003 and 2009.”
In his affidavit Herojit, 36, son of Th. Shyamkumar Singh of Lamdeng Awang Leikhai, Imphal West, currenty at Delhi, said that he was making the affidavit to put on record that he was a witness to a large number of fake encounter killings in Manipur during the period 2003–09. All these fake encounters were done on the direct order of the superior officer, the affidavit said.
Herojit informed that he maintained in his own hand 3-4 diaries of these fake encounters in which he had entries serial wise of (I) the name of the victim (II) the age (III) parentage (IV) address (V) place of occurrence (VI) date of the killing or arrest (VII) remarks such as “killed” or “done”or “arrest” and; (VII) the call sign code of the superior who gave the order to kill, the affidavit stated.
As per his recollection, these diaries were seized by the CBI from his government quarters at Manipur Police Commando Complex at Minuthong, Imphal, sometime in 2010 in the presence of his family and without taking his signature on the seizure panchnama and without giving him a list of the diaries seized, the affidavit informed.
He asserted his belief in the affidavit that the CBI will destroy or suppress these diaries and hence one of the reasons for his making of the affidavit is to ensure that the diaries are produced before the court.
The affidavit further mentioned that immediately after the seizure of the diaries, the CBI called him to their office in Imphal several times and repeatedly questioned him about the entries in his diaries.
He further stated that he was also making the affidavit to tell the court that he can contribute to the investigation since he was present at many of these fake encounters in respect of which the court has directed investigation to be done.
In 2017, he repeatedly requested the CBI officer ASP Shukla to record his statement regarding his presence at the fake encounters on the orders given by his superior officers, but nothing came of it, the affidavit mentioned.
The affidavit continued saying that he first spoke to the press on January 25, 2016 in respect of the fake encounters of July 23, 2009, where on the orders of additional SP, A.K. Jhalajit, an unarmed Manipuri boy named Chungkham Sanjit Meitei (23) was extra-judicially executed in a chemist shop in broad day light in the presence of TV cameras which showed that Jhalajit was speaking to him outside the chemists shop. Jhalajit subsequently took the stand in the sessions court in his examination-in-chief that he was nowhere near the place of the incident as under: “within a period of 5 minutes of my arrival at B.T. Road, I heard sounds of gunshot while I was near the median of the road at B.T. Road. Only after a minute when the gunshot stopped, I got up and started taking stock of situation. I did not even know exactly from which place the sound of gunshot was coming. When I inquired, I came to know that it was from Maimu Pharmacy, where a youth was shot by H.C Herojit and rifleman Toyaima as per the version of the person gathered there but I cannot confirm whether Herojit and Toyaima had shot the said youth.”
It was also mentioned that the video footage of the incident dated July 23, 2009 was at Annexure B in the affidavit.
In his press statement on January 25, 2016, he had mentioned to the press which was video recorded, that the extrajudicial execution of Chungkham Sanjit was on the orders of A.K. Jhaljit, it further said.
The incident was widely covered in the newspapers and on TV, the affidavit said adding there were widespread protests in Manipur and elsewhere. Finding themselves without any possible defence, the state filed a charge-sheet against him on September 9, 2010 making out as if AJhalajit had nothing to do with the incident, the affidavit continued.
During the trial he was not given a lawyer of his own choice, it said. State of Manipur appointed a lawyer to represent all the accused persons, it further said. The prosecution and the defence lawyers were acting together, the affidavit informed.
His defence case was never put to the prosecution witness, it continued. Even in Jhalajit’s cross examination no suggestion was put to him that he had ordered the execution and that he was very much on site, it said. When he made an affidavit on February 7, 2016 and gave it to the trial court judge, the lawyers supposedly acting in his defence abandoned him saying that since he had given an affidavit to the court they could not defend him, it further said. Apparently the court appointed an amicus but this needs to be verified, the affidavit sated. In any case, he was never given a chance to appoint a lawyer of his choice and went unrepresented, it added.
It was further stated that he was bringing it to the court’s attention for the limited purpose of putting the facts on record and nothing else as he intends to try and have a senior lawyer appointed to defend him in the trial court.
Even though he asked the CBI officer to have his statement recorded, and to produce his diaries so that he could give a comprehensive statement of how he was present at the place and time of a large number of fake encounters and also disclose the identity of the senior officers who had ordered the extrajudicial executions, the CBI was completely disinterested and seemed to want to cover up the enormous crimes that have taken place, the affidavit further said.
The affidavit continued stating that simultaneously, cover up plans were being made to exterminate him so that he can no longer be a witness to these crimes in Court. On April 30, 2016, at 8.30 pm a TATA pickup truck without lights and number plates deliberately slammed into his car about a kilometre from his house with the intention of killing him, the affidavit said.
He was serious inured with multiple fractures and had to take 38 stitches, it said. “I continued to pose a threat to all the officers who gave orders and routinely continued to give orders without hesitation and without reason for the extrajudicial executions of innocent citizens of India and this is why I fear that I will suffer the same fate,” the affidavit said.
It was with this sense of urgency that he had made the affidavit to have his diaries recovered before they were destroyed by the CBI and have his 164 Cr PC statement recorded in court, the affidavit informed.
Source : IFP