Imphal, Oct. 2: Manipur home minister Gaikhangam today said the state government would punish any member of the state forces, who is found involved in fake encounter killings.
The home minister was reacting to a report that the Supreme Court yesterday admitted a petition filed by Extra-judicial Execution Victim Families’ Association, Manipur, and Human Rights Alert, Imphal, seeking the institution of a special investigation team to probe cases of alleged fake encounter killings in the state.
The Supreme Court, after admitting the public interest litigation, appointed Supreme Court lawyer Meneka Guruswamy as the amicus curie and the Supreme Court will take up the matter on November 4.
The petition listed 63 cases of alleged fake encounter killings pending either in the high court or National Human Rights Commission, to argue that they approached the apex court after they failed to get justice in earlier efforts.
The petition also submitted a list of 1,528 cases of alleged fake encounter killings since 1978.
Neena Ningombam, the secretary of the association, said the number of young widows was increasing every year in Manipur, as a result of the extra-judicial killings by the security forces and the police.
Police commandos killed her husband, Ngangom Michael Singh, in November 2008.
The Supreme Court’s admittance of the petition raised the hopes of the families that justice would be delivered.
“We have faith in the Supreme Court and we will continue to fight for justice in other forums as well,” Neena said.
“We will honour any order of the Supreme Court and the government is prepared to punish any member of the state forces if they are found involved in fake encounter killings,” Gaikhangam told reporters on the sidelines of a function organised at Congress Bhawan to mark Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary.
He said the government would not save anyone who was involved in any fake encounter killings.
Reacting to the recent spurt of bomb attacks on security forces and police by United National Liberation Front and Peoples Liberation Army, the home minister said they carried out the attacks as a run-up to their raising days.
“Raising days should be observed peacefully and there should not be any blood-letting,” the home minister said.
He said the government was waiting for a conducive atmosphere to send feelers to militant groups, which have not accepted the offer for peace talks.
“The present situation is volatile. We will send feelers when the atmosphere is conducive. We will try to know what they really want first and then make a road map for talks,” Gaikhangam said.
Reacting to the sovereignty demand by the militant groups, he said everybody had the right to make any demand.
However, there was the need to sit down together and discuss and reach an agreement.