Manipur human right bodies demand impartial investigation into Chalwa incident

PIB Defence Wing on Sunday said that the Indian Army has ordered an inquiry into the violent incident in Kangpokpi district on Friday night which had resulted in the death of a villager.

Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association (EEVFAM) and Human Rights Alert (HRA) on Monday termed the June 4 Chalwa village incident as a manifestation of the institutionalized impunity provided by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).

EEVFAM and HRA shared the traumatic pain and anguish of the family members of late Mangboilal Lhouvum (29) of Lauvum Chalwa village of Kangpokpi district, Manipur, while alleging that he was extra-judicially executed by Major Alok Sathe, post commander of 44 Assam Rifles and his team on the night of June 4, 2021.

“It is despicable that such incidents have started re-occurring again after a gap of several years following the historic 2016 judgment of the Supreme Court of India in WP(Cril) No. 129 of 2012, EEVFAM v/s Union of India,” the joint statement of the two bodies said. 

“The present BJP government of Manipur, which came to power riding on the wave of the people’s struggle against the extrajudicial execution, should do everything within its capacity to halt extrajudicial execution becoming the horrifying trend once again”, the human right bodies demanded. 

EEVFAM and HRA see this unfortunate incident as a manifestation of the institutionalized impunity provided by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), it said. 

“Despite CBI/SIT investigations on extrajudicial executions that have clearly established the direct involvement of several police and armed forces of the union personnel in the heinous crime, it is only the police personnel who are indicted and not even a single armed forces of the union”, the statement added.

Also read: ATSUM condemns Chalwa village killing by 44 AR Major

EEVFAM and HRA observed that even though extrajudicial execution, in no stretch of imagination, can be considered as being carried out in exercise of official duty, the armed forces are shielding themselves using the immunity provided by AFSPA. 

“The Central government has also denied prosecution sanction in all the cases,” the statement said, adding, “Considering the vagueness of law in this regard the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West has referred the matter to the High Court of Manipur to clarify the legal position vide its order dated 22 February 2021 in Cril Misc (FR) case no. 633 of 2020”. 

EEVFAM and HRA hoped that the High Court of Manipur would expeditiously pass an appropriate order to fill up this legal lacuna in the interest of justice. 

“If the legal system continues to allow murderers to go scot free many more Mangboilals will continue to fall victim even as thousands of families continue to endlessly wait for justice from a slow moving judiciary”, it stated.

HRA and EEVFAM then said that the killing of Mangboilal is a clear case of extra-judicial killing and the government of Manipur and the government of India should ensure that there is prompt, thorough, effective and impartial investigation and a fair trial is carried out in a civilian court by respecting the verdict of the Supreme Court as well as the international human rights standards.

Also read: A villager in Kangpokpi dist shot dead by 44 AR Major, Public storms AR Camp

On the other hand, the Indian army had ordered probe over Chalwa village incident. The Press Information Bureau (PIB) Defence Wing on Sunday said that the Indian Army has ordered an inquiry into the violent incident in Kangpokpi district on Friday night which had resulted in the death of a villager.

The PIB clarified that based on specific intelligence, security forces had launched an operation on Friday to nab the secretary of Kuki Revolutionary Army along with 3-4 cadres in Kangpokpi. The security forces had approached to make an inquiry when KRA cadres and their accomplices manhandled one of the Assam Rifles personnel and attempted to fire at the troops. Following this, a conflict broke out between the two parties, it said. “While the operation was in progress, a huge mob of locals surrounded the Assam Rifles post and resorted to unprovoked violence and arson. The mob torched two Assam Rifles vehicles and caused damage to the Assam Rifles post at Gelnel Village. They also disrupted the main road connectivity for more than 24 hours causing lot of inconvenience to local commuters,” said the PIB statement adding the security forces “exercised total restraint to control the unruly mob with special consideration towards safety of human life and collateral damage”.

“Indian Army has ordered an inquiry into the matter. Assam Rifles remains committed to maintaining peace and normalcy in the region,” the statement further stated.

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