UN Urges Govt To Finish “Fake Encounter” Probe In Manipur, Over 1500 Families Wait For Justice
The Logical Indian Crew Manipur
July 6th, 2018 / 12:33 PM
The United Nations has made a scathing remark on the delay of the investigation report into alleged killings by security forces in Manipur.
The UN human rights experts urged the Indian authorities to complete thorough investigations after officials failed to meet the third deadline set by the Supreme Court for inquiries into the cases.
“We are extremely concerned that the delay appears to be deliberate, undue and unreasonable, and we condemn this lack of progress,” the experts said in a press release issued by UN Human Rights Council.
According to the report, “In 2012, civil society groups submitted more than 1,500 cases of alleged extrajudicial killings in Manipur to the Supreme Court of India. In many of the cases, the deaths had been registered by the police as due to the exchange of fire between security forces and armed groups or individuals. However, the families alleged the cases were ‘fake encounters’ and the individuals had been intentionally killed”.
The report also mentioned that, in 2013, an expert commission was appointed by the Supreme court. The commission started their investigation into the six cases out of 1,500, chosen apparently at random. The commision found out that conclusions of the security forces were not genuine, and that none of the individuals killed by the security personnel had any criminal records. Later, The Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) was ordered to conduct investigations into a number of other cases.
‘Tarik pe tarik’ (Deadline after deadline)
According to the report, the first deadline that was set up by the Supreme Court was of 31 December 2017, for the investigation to be conducted in 89 cases. But, by the end of the deadline, only 12 cases had been registered. Then another deadline till February 2018 was given by the court. Unfortunately, by 12 March only 42 cases had been registered.
Finally, the Supreme Court ordered investigations be completed and a report filed by 30 June 2018 for 50 cases. Surprisingly, the progress in the investigation seems to have gone down. In the last hearing that was on July 2, the CBI not only failed to submit the required report but also indicated it had completed investigations into only four cases.
“Some of these families have been waiting decades for these cases to be fully investigated. It is unacceptable that the CBI is failing to meet these deadlines and appears to lack good faith,” said the experts.
The plight of Manipur
The Logical Indian spoke to one of the petitioners, Babloo Loitongbam, who had filled a PIL in 2011 to investigate 1,528 “fake encounters” by the security forces.
Babloo Loitongbam, the executive director of Human Rights Alert, an NGO, said that he tends to agree with the UN criticism on the progress of the investigation.
“The case is not just about one person. There are hundreds of people who are hoping to get justice for their deceased loved ones. The investigation that has been going on for so many years has still not come to an end,” Babloo laments.
“But, even after such delay in the investigation, all citizens of Manipur have faith in our system. They are hopeful that the Supreme court judgement will restore their faith,” he added.
In the last hearing on Monday, the Supreme Court has now ordered NHRC to be incorporated into the investigation. It has said that three officials from NHRC will now be a part of the investigation team, who will finish the investigations in the rest of the cases.
The supreme court has also asked the central government to provide a written response to the court on Herojit’s application. Herojit, a Manipur cop who had confessed to conducting “fake encounters” had asked the state government to produce his personal diary as evidence to the CBI.
Manipur cop Herojit’s confession
Thounaojam Herojit Singh was a head constable with the Manipur police and in the period 2003 to 2009, he claims that he has not just witnessed but also carried out extrajudicial killings in the state, during his term in the Manipur state police.
“He kept pleading,” Herojit recalled. “I’m sorry I’m sorry … Anyway, I took out my 9mm and I gave him six bullets,” said Herojit while speaking to the Guardian.
Herojit has also claimed that he has kept a written record of those killings in his personal diary.
According to the Wire, Herojit’s affidavit reads as, “I maintained in my own hand 3-4 diaries of these fake encounters in which I made entries serial-wise of (i) the name of the victim (ii) his 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; (viii) the call sign code of the superior officer who gave the order to kill”.
Herojit has told the court that his diaries were taken from him during a raid by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 2010.
“I believe that the CBI will destroy or suppress these diaries,” he added.
On January 8, 2018, Herojit, had filed an affidavit in the apex Court saying his diary has a lot of evidence of the killings. As it is an important evidence the diaries should be produced as evidence before the Supreme Court.
The court is scheduled to review the progress and CBI’s report on July 24, 2018.
The Logical Indian take
Police and law and order, in general, are there to safeguard the interests of the Indian citizens. When case after case comes to light where there is potential evidence of extra-judicial killings by army and police, it should be the government’s onus to carry out swift and fair investigations. It should not come down to a situation where the UN is criticising India on a global platform. We stand with the victims and their families.
Written by : Ridhima Gupta
Edited by : Abhinav Joshi