SC orders CBI probe into 97 Manipur cases

Supreme Court orders CBI to probe 62 cases of extrajudicial killings in Manipur

Supreme Court orders CBI to probe 62 cases of extrajudicial killings in Manipur

The creation of a transparent, time-bound investigation team that has the full cooperation of local authorities would be an important advance for accountability in the Manipur killings. However, the government and armed forces deny any such charges. The bench asked the Manipur government to pay the compensation in those cases where the NHRC had ordered compensation to the victims' families and registration of FIRs in respect of these complaints.

On April 20, the army had told the apex Court that it can not be subjected to FIRs for carrying out anti-militancy operations in insurgency-prone States like Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur, while alleging local bias in judicial inquiries conducted against it in these regions, which have tarnished its image.

"We do not think it appropriate to associate any officer of the Manipur Police, particularly since in some of the cases the role of the Manipur Police itself has been adversely commented upon", the SC added. The army, protected by AFSPA, committed widespread rights violations that fostered a culture of violence which encouraged similar abuses by the Manipur state police.

In July past year, the apex Court had directed a thorough probe into the alleged fake encounter killings in Manipur saying the use of "excessive or retaliatory force" by the armed forces or police was not permissible in "disturbed areas" under the controversial Armed Force Special Powers Act.

The court will be looking into 62 cases of extrajudicial killings that took place in Manipur.

The judgement passed by Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta was in response to a petition filed by the Extra Judicial Execution Victims Families Association, a registered trust having as its members the wives and mothers of persons whom they claim have been extra-judicially executed by the Manipur Police and the security forces, mainly the Assam Rifles and the Army.

The Centre justified the years of neglect or lack of investigation by the Manipur Police, blaming "local pressures" and the "ground situation" in the sensitive State.

The ball is now in the court of CBI, Babloo said. "It must be remembered that we are not dealing with individual cases but a systemic or institutional response relating to constitutional criminal law". The current CBI investigation would be on cases sourced through Commissions of Inquiry, judicial officers, the High Court concerned and the National Human Rights Commission.

The government and the army had opposed any investigation into the killings, asserting that all those killed were militants who died in counterinsurgency operations.

“In every military operation, the Army can not be disbelieved.

Rights groups accuse government forces of misusing a controversial anti- insurgency law - Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) - to commit rights abuses.

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