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Right groups welcome SC's orders to probe into killings
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal /N Delhi, July 16 2017: Human rights groups have welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision ordering a probe into allegations of extrajudicial killings by security forces in Manipur .

The court made the call on Friday after hearing a public interest litigation seeking a probe and compensation for 1,528 alleged extrajudicial killings in Manipur from 2000 to 2012 by the army, paramilitary and police forces .

North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) has welcomed the order of Supreme Court directing Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct inquiry into the cases of extrajudicial killings in Manipur by the Army, the Assam Rifles and Manipur Police .

In a statement, Chinglen Khumukcham, convener of North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) said that the present ruling also pointed out the compromised nature of the investigation which would result if one depended on the State Police to probe such cases.

It should be known that Manipur Police has not registered any FIRs at the behest of the kin of those killed in encounters .

“This decision is a step ahead for the repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which gives soldiers sweeping powers to arrest or interrogate people in ‘disturbed areas’ or States dealing with separatists or insurgents.

This law has been used by the army to use draconian measures against Indian people,” it said .

NEFIS believes that by denying the right to rule of law, the Indian State has kept North-East people relegated to the status of second class citizens in the country that claims itself to be the world's largest democracy, it said while hailing the move as a ‘vindication of democratic movement against AFSPA,’ one has to see what more can be achieved on the ground .

“It sends a strong message that accountability will finally take place,” Suhas Chakma, the director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights, said on Saturday .

“The individuals who committed these crimes and those who made it possible should be prosecuted.

These crimes should never have taken place.

The government and security forces should now fully cooperated with investigators,” Chakma said .

Indian forces deny the allegations by human rights groups and blame the deaths on rebel groups that have been fighting in the tiny state, bordering Myanmar .

Emergency law
Rights groups have accused Indian security forces of misusing an emergency law which has led to rights abuses in rebel-hit areas like Manipur and India-administered Kashmir .

They allege the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) gives sweeping powers to security forces to search, arrest and shoot-to-kill in an effort to tackle armed groups in troubled areas .

“Fighting militant groups requires governments to make difficult decisions, but they cannot come at the cost of the rights to life and liberty,” Meenakshi Ganguly, Human Rights Watch’s South Asia Director, said in a statement on Friday .

“To restore public confidence and prevent such abuses in the future, the Indian government should promptly repeal AFSPA,” Ganguly said .

Meanwhile, some security officers have admitted to carrying out extrajudicial killings are calling on the government to admit their role .

“In order to stop fake encounters… I have come out confessing that I am the killer in this case,” Thounaojam Herojit Singh, head constable at Manipur police, told Al Jazeera .

“After realising that this was wrong… I have come out to stop the fake encounters.

The so called higher authority should stop giving rampant orders,” Singh said.


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