TODAY -

AI's Brave Campaign speaks out against harassment of rights defenders
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, June 17 2018: The Brave Campaign being carried out by the Amnesty International India throughout the country reached Manipur today and a panel discussion programme was held today at Hotel Imphal.

The panel discussion programme held today as a part of the Brave Campaign was jointly organised by the Extra Judicial Execution Victims Families Association Manipur (EEVFAM), Amnesty International India and Human Rights Alert (HRA) .

As a part of the campaign, EEVFAM, Amnesty International India and HRA have been holding joint meetings with local Meira Paibis at different places of Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur and Thoubal districts since a couple of weeks back in solidarity with human right defenders.

A torch rally was also taken out at DM College on June 14.Around 100 women formed a human chain at Ima Market, Khwairamband on June 16 denouncing any form of intimidation and harassment of human right defenders.

Speaking at the panel discussion programme, Human Rights Alert executive director Babloo Loitongbam said that Manipur has been witnessing rampant human rights violation for the last 60 years even though no state of emergency has ever been declared.

Babloo pointed out that the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee constituted by the Government of India termed AFSPA 1958 as unconstitutional.

Even though Article 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees rights to life, AFSPA 1958 negates the same guarantee as it allows security forces to torture and even kill civilians without any trial, Babloo said.

Everybody is aware about different repressive measures unleashed by security forces in the State.

The Supreme Court laid down certain dos and don'ts in connection with AFSPA in the form of a judgement passed on October 27, 1997 but security forces have not been complying with these dos and don'ts.

Military forces have carried out different military operations nicknamed Operation Blue Bird, Operation Sunny Belt, Operation Loktak, Operation Tornado, Operation Khengjoy, Operation Somtal-I, Operation Somtal-II etc, and there were reports of rampant human rights violation during these operations.

But no security personnel has been ever pulled up for human rights violation nor there has been instance of delivering justice to victims, Babloo said.

Talking about the petition filed by EEVFAM and HRA at the Supreme Court regarding the killing of 1528 people by security forces without any trial between 1979 and 2012 in the State, Babloo said that the Hegde Committee constituted at the behest of the Supreme Court held hearings for six killings at Hotel Classic.

After the hearings, the committee affirmed that none of these cases were genuine encounters but fake encounters and none of the victims had any connection with insurgent groups and their activities, Babloo said.

Again the Supreme Court issued another order in July last year directing the CBI to set up a special investigation team to investigate 90 cases of fake encounter.

Even though the apex Court directed CBI to submit their report by December 31 last year, the investigation agency is still unable to submit a report.

At a hearing held on May 23 this year, the CBI was directed to submit their SIT report within the current month.

The same case is listed for next hearing on July 3, said the human rights activist.

It were these landmark judgements of the Supreme Court which halted fake encounters in the State.

Many innocent people have been suffering untold misery because of the extra judicial activities carried out by security forces.

The State should be held accountable for their extrajudicial activities, he asserted.

Likhita Banerjee of Amnesty International India spoke on 'Shrinking space for human right defenders', Ranjita Sadokpam on 'Threats faced by human right defenders in Manipur', EEVFAM president Renu Takhellambam on 'The role of EEVFAM in seeking justice', Chingya Luithui on 'Lessons from the NPMHR case on AFSPA' and Imphal Free Press Editor Pradip Phanjoubam on "Is indifference to rights activism rising' .

The panel discussed was moderated by Amnesty International India Programme Manager Arijit Sen.

Before the panel discussion, Semila Memcha of Thoubal who husband was killed by security forces in alleged fake encounter in 2010 and Menjor Sagolsem of Mayang Imphal Maibam Konjil whose son was killed by security forces in alleged fake encounter by security forces in 2009 gave brief accounts of how their husband and son were killed.


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