12th foundation day EEVFAM : Annual Report

11th July, 2021

 12th Foundation Day of Extrajudicial Execution Victims Families Association Manipur (EEVFAM) at Kwakeithel Thiyam Leikai :: 11th July 2021
12th foundation day of EEVFAM on 11th July 2021

Extrajudicial Execution Vicitm Families Association (EEVFAM) has observed its 12th foundation day in the simple function held by duly observing the COVID protocol, at the conference hall of Human Rights Alert, today. Presenting the annual report Secretary EEVFAM presented the status of the ongoing CBI investigation and trail in the CJMs and Sessions Court in Manipur following the EEVFAM PIL in the Supreme Court of India.

It was on this day 11 July in 2009, when a group of family members of victims of extrajudicial executions and human rights activist met at the house of (late) Longjam Uttamkumar at Longjam Leirak, Imphal who was executed in front of his own family, that the idea of the families of the victims to come together and collectively fight for justice was dawned, leading to the formation of EEVFAM.

It is interesting to note that two most gruesome incidents of the human rights violations which triggered massive people’s resistance occurred on the same day of 11 July. On the occasion of the 12th foundation day of EEVFAM, the Chief Guest of the function Ms Meenakshi Chanambam released a book entitled The 11th July: A Compilation of Reports Pertaining to Operation Bluebird and Murder of Manorama.

 12th Foundation Day of Extrajudicial Execution Victims Families Association Manipur (EEVFAM) at Kwakeithel Thiyam Leikai :: 11th July 2021
12th foundation day of EEVFAM on 11th July 2021

Operation Bluebird

Assam Rifles camp stationed at Oinam village, Senapati district the armed forces unleashed a reign of terror on the nearby villagers in retaliation to an earlier NSCN attacked on them. Operation Bluebird was launched on 11 July in 1987 and continues for three months. 27 persons were alleged to have been killed, three women were allegedly raped and five women were sexually molested while 300 persons were allegedly tortured. NPMHR petitioned the Guwahati High Court in October 1987.

The Court directed the Court of Sessions Judge, Manipur, Imphal to record the evidence of the victims of torture. Sessions Judge C Upendra Singh began recording evidence of the victims in August 1988. Thousands of the pages of testimonies of horror were recorded in vivid details, after being duly cross examined by the counsels of Union of India and State of Manipur. The final hearing was conducted before the bench of Justice Phukan and Justice Shishak in March 1992.

But it was only after 26 years that the High Court of Manipur finally pronounced the judgment, dated 13.6.2019. Para 13 reads:
Despite several orders of this Court in the recent times, it appears that the entire records could not be identified or located. There is no final or interim report from the District Judge, Imphal.

The court directed the State Home Secretary to constitute a committee consisting of Superintendent of Police and the Deputy Commissioner of Senapati District to hold an inquiry into the incident of Operation Bluebird within three months, but there is no sign of the committee being constituted.

Even as all legal evidence and testimonies of the gruesome act of mass atrocities evaporated into the thin air without a trace from the very institutions that is constituted to defend the fundamental right of the citizens and deliver justice, the only comprehensive report of the incident available today in the public domain is the Amnesty International report entitled “Operation Bluebird” A Case Study of Torture and Extrajudicial Executions in Manipur, AI Index: ASA 20/17/90 issued in January 1990.

The report is stated to be “based on many detailed eye-witness accounts – much of it sworn testimony which was cross-examined in court”. It seems that this report was basically a summary of the evidences recorded by Sessions Judge C Upendra Singh. We are reproducing this report.

 12th Foundation Day of Extrajudicial Execution Victims Families Association Manipur (EEVFAM) at Kwakeithel Thiyam Leikai :: 11th July 2021
12th foundation day of EEVFAM on 11th July 2021

Murder of Manorama

On the intervening night of 10 and 11 July the 17th Assam Rifles troops cordoned Ms. Thangjam Manorama’s her house at Bamon Kampu Mayai Leikai, Imphal East District. The all-male soldiers’ team, without any police woman, interrogated and tortured her in front of her family. She was whisked way in their vehicle after issuing an arrest memo. The next morning, her lifeless body was found on the road side with tell-tale signs of rape and torture.

In response to the massive and unprecedented protest Government of Manipur constituted a Commission Inquiry under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952 (vide Notification No.8/1(1)/2004-H(Pt-II) dated 12.07.2004). Despite of strong objections by the Assam Rifles questioning the competence of the commission to inquiry into their conduct, the Commission conducted a thorough inquiry and submitted its report.

However, the Government never made the report public or placed it before the cabinet or in the assembly. No action was taken on the 20 recommendations listed at the end of the report. The Commission categorically fixed the responsibility of the persons responsible for the death of Manorama in the following words:

In view of the materials before the Commission and for the reasons given above, five persons viz. Major N. Dagar, Commander of the operational team of 17th Assam Rifles is responsible either directly or vicariously, four other personnel who joined in the operational team viz. Havildar Suresh Kumar, Rifleman T. Lotha, Rifleman Ajit Singh and Rifleman Saikia are directly responsible for the killing of Km. Monorama in the custody of the l7th Assam Rifles. (Chapter IV, para 21, page 65)

It was almost after a decade, in the course of the proceeding of the EEVFAM case WP (Cril) 129 of 2012, the Supreme Court demanded copies of all the reports of the Commission of Inquiries constituted by the Government of Manipur on extrajudicial executions. This particular Inquiry Report too was submitted along with half a dozen others to the court. And the court handed over a copy of these reports to the petitioners. We are presenting this hard-earned report to the public.

See a photo gallery on this event here

(Edina Yaikhom)
Extrajudicial Execution Vicitm Families Association (EEVFAM)

* This Press Release was sent to by Extrajudicial Execution Vicitm Families Association (EEVFAM)
This Press Release was posted on 12 July 2021

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