A Supreme Court-appointed committee probing six cases of alleged extra-judicial killings in Manipur informed the court today that these were not genuine encounters and the victims,including a 12-year-old boy,did not have any criminal records.
A bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai perused the committee’s report which said none of the six cases qualify as encounters and they are fake.
The committee,comprising of former Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde,ex-CEC J M Lyngdoh and a senior police officer,has said in its report that the probe showed that none of the victims had any criminal records. The bench said the report makes it clear that the guidelines on encounters laid down by the apex court in the Naga People’s Movement case was not followed.
Appropriate directions will be passed on the basis of the panel’s report on April 9,it said. The Supreme Court on January 4 had decided to appoint the committee to hold an inquiry into the alleged fake encounter killings in Manipur.
The panel was set up to probe six cases of alleged extra- judicial killings in the Northeast state where a magisterial inquiry had raised questions on genuineness of the encounters.
The apex court had appointed the panel on a PIL filed by an association of the families of the alleged victims,seeking setting up of a special investigation team and direct inquiry into around 1,528 such cases. The association had alleged in its plea that over 2,000 odd extra-judicial killings have taken place in the state,but no one has been held guilty till date.
It had alleged that innocent people with no criminal records have been killed by security forces and no proper investigation has been done in such cases.
The apex court while deciding to form the panel had said,”Magisterial inquiry does not inspire confidence as it is not satisfactory and none,including the army personnel,appeared before it.”
It had,however,turned down the plea for SIT probe and also refused to go into the legality of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act which grants special powers to the security personnel in disturbed areas.
On July 4 last year,the apex court had agreed to hear a similar plea for probe into alleged extra-judicial killings by BSF in the border area of West Bengal.
In that case,petitioner Bangla Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha,a Kolkata-based NGO,had alleged that there are more than 200 cases where BSF personnel indulged in extra-judicial killings and torture in the border area and those cases were never probed by the state police. The NGO had alleged that instead of registering FIRs against the BSF personnel,these were registered against the deceased and the cases were closed on that basis.