TODAY -

Patronising the killing machines ? Cases of mass massacres
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: January 09 2018 -



It was a massacre. It was not the first nor was it the last.

This is why such a date needs to be remembered fittingly.

To many, specially those who grew up after 1995, January 7 may just be another date on the calendar, but to many others it will be remembered as one of the ‘most brutal incidents in the history of Manipur,’ to borrow an observation from Langamba, former president of United Committee, Manipur.

It was on January 7, 1995 that nine civilians were mowed down by rampaging CRPF personnel at RIMS gate, then RMC, giving a new definition to the brutality of the men in uniform.

It was only after more than 10 years, that is in 2008, that four CRPF men who were involved in massacring the nine civilians back in 1995 were handed life imprisonment.

The list of such massacres is long and while it would not be possible to list all of them, suffice it to say that what is being witnessed at the Supreme Court of India is the sum total of the mass killings that Manipur has witnessed down the years.

The birth of some prominent human rights activists can also be traced to such inhuman conduct of the men in uniform, all in the name of upholding the rule of law.

Rewind 30 years back and one will remember the summer of 1987 when Assam Rifles personnel went on the rampage and killed 14 civilians after armed rebels attacked one of their camps at Oinam village in Senapati district.

Operation Blue Bird was the name given to the systematic brutalising of the villagers.

Other such cases include the Tera Massacre of 1993 when five civilians were killed in indiscriminate firing, the Tonsen Lamkhai incident of 1999 when 10 civilians were shot dead by security personnel and the Malom Massacre of 2000 when 10 civilians were killed by Assam Rifles personnel.

The world knows that the Malom Massacre gave birth to the crusader in Irom Sharmila and how the Armed Forces Special Powers Act gained international notoriety.

It was again under the immunity and impunity provided by this Act that the battered, bullet riddled and brutalised body of Th Manorama was found after she was picked up by Assam Rifles personnel in 2004.

It was this incident which gave birth to the now well known nude protest staged by womenfolk in front of Kangla which then housed the Assam Rifles.

From the mass massacres, to selective killings, the focus is now on the extra-judicial killings with the Supreme Court having taken cognizance of a number of cases and picking holes in the encounter theories filed by the security personnel and the State Government.

Perhaps, former encounter specialist Th Herojit sums up the story of encounters in Manipur in his confession before the media some time back, which has again been given a push with him directly approaching the Supreme Court alleging that all the fake encounters, of which he was a master, were staged at the instructions of his superiors.

More than likely that there may be others like him too in the rank and file of the State police and this should raise the question of why there are killing machines.

A question which the State Government and the Centre should study with the seriousness it deserves.



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