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SC wants encounter probe made public
- Petitioners, Centre to get 27 case reports

Police chase out people protesting against fake encounter killings in Imphal. File picture

Imphal, Aug. 8: The probe reports of 27 cases of alleged fake encounter killings in Manipur will be made public for the first time with the Supreme Court ordering that the reports be made available to the petitioners and the Union government, which is a respondent.

The Manipur government had last year submitted reports of inquiries into 27 cases of alleged fake encounter killings to the apex court, which is hearing two identical petitions that seek a special investigation team to probe 1,528 cases of such killings.

The petitions were filed by Human Rights Alert, Manipur, and Extra-judicial Execution Victim Families’ Association Manipur.

Today’s directive was issued by a division bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice M.Y. Iqbal.

Attorney general Mukul Rothgi, who was representing the Union government, sought four weeks’ time to submit its pleadings after getting the probe reports.

Investigations into the 27 cases, either under high court directive or set up by the state government, took place between 1980 and 2008. The cases include Operation Blue Bird launched by the Assam Rifles at Oinam village in Senapati district in 1987 in which 13 villagers were killed, “Heirangoithong massacre” in Imphal West in which 13 spectators of a volleyball match were killed when CRPF personnel fired into the crowd after militants attacked them in 1984 and that of Thangjam Manorama Devi who was killed after alleged rape by Assam Rifles personnel after they arrest her from her Imphal East house in 2004.

Babloo Loitongbam, rights activist and one of the petitioners, said the state government had not taken any action on the reports. The report of an inquiry commission set up by the Supreme Court on January 4, 2013 to probe six of the 1,528 cases involving seven deaths found that all the six cases were fake encounter killings by police commandos and security forces. The Supreme Court had selected the six cases at random.

The Supreme Court has fixed the next hearing on October 14 and directed all the parties to complete their pleadings on or before that date.

The petitioners and relatives of the victims welcomed the court’s directive as the families would finally see reports of the commissions set up to inquire into the killing of their loved ones.

“Since the inquiry reports will be made available to us, the public will finally know the findings of the inquiries which were till now a secret. The government has not taken any action on the findings of the inquiries,” Loitongbam said.