NHRC directs Manipur to report
about 111 fake encounter killings:
- Awards Rs 5 lakhs compensation to the next kin of R K Sanjoaba nephew of former Manipur Chief Minister R K Jaichandra Singh -
New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission on 28 January 2010 directed the State government of Manipur to provide Rs. five lakhs (Rs 500,000) as monetary relief to the next of kin of the deceased R K Sanjoaba, nephew of former Manipur Chief Minister R K Jaichandra Singh who was killed in a fake encounter in the broad daylight on 20 October 2004 and submit the proof of payment to the Commission by 26 February 2010 based on a complaint filed by Asian Centre for Human Rights.
The NHRC further stated that the State of Manipur has not been sending any reports about encounter killings. The Commission has directed the Chief Secretary, State of Manipur to “explain as to why the reports are not being forwarded to the National Human Rights Commission” in 111 reported cases of fake encounter killings.
“The order of the NHRC is historic considering the systematic fake encounter killings by the Manipur Police under the guise of joint operations with the Central armed forces. The Manipur Government must bear in mind that even if the Armed Forces Special Powers Act is imposed, the central armed forces are legally required to operate under the command of the police in aid of civil administration and the Police are duty bound to report to the NHRC” – stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.
Background of the fake encounter killing of R K Sanjaoba:
On the morning of 20th October 2004, the deceased RK Sanjaoba was proceeding towards Sagolband from the direction of Wahengbam Leikai on his Honda Activa scooter when a police constable on escort duty of the Officer in Charge (OC) of Patsoi police station, Joyce Lalrimmiwi, landed a blow on the back of the deceased with a lathi for not giving way to the police Gypsy that was also heading towards the same direction. Those hours of the day being office hours, traffic was very heavy at Sagolband area.
The deceased then overtook the police Gypsy and stopped in front of a timber shop at Sagolband Khongnang Hogaibi and signalled the police vehicle to stop. Two policemen then jumped down from the Gypsy and started raining blows on the deceased for daring to stop the vehicle of the OC. A fight ensued when the deceased also retaliated. According to eyewitnesses another police constable, who was armed with a lathi joined his colleagues and attacked Sanjaoba. However, he managed to snatch the lathi and started thrashing the cops. Seeing that his three colleagues were being thrashed, the driver of the Gypsy, Ningombam Ibomcha came out and shot at the leg of Sanjaoba but the shot missed the target. Not satisfied, the constable shot again hitting the deceased on his chest killing him on the spot.
Observations and order of the NHRC:
On 21st October 2004, Asian Centre for Human Rights filed a complaint, inter alia, alleging that one R.K. Sanjaoba, son of R.K. Naba Chandra was killed by police personnel of Patsoi in Imphal at 10.30 A.M. on 20th October, 2004 at Sagolband Khongnang Hogaibi, Imphal. In this case, there is no report made by the State of Manipur about the death caused by the police.
The NHRC in its order 28 January 2010 stated:
“In the instant case, the police has put up a theory that it is a case of accidental firing and the person sustained injuries as a consequence of which he died. The deceased and one other person were returning home on their scooter which was stopped on the way by some unknown police personnel of Manipur Police which was headed by a lady police officer. In the scuffle which took place one of the police-men took out the weapon and shot him on his chest from point blank range as a result of which he died on the spot.
It is suggested that during the course of investigation which revealed that the person spoke some slang language as a result of which the escorts got down from the vehicle. The same unknown person forcibly snatched the fiber stick from the escort and started beating the police personnel including the complainant and the unknown person alleged to have embraced the complainant and tried to snatch his service pistol. In the scuffle some rounds were accidentally fired which hit the person and he died on the spot. The police has registered a case and charge-sheet is also filed.
The theory propounded by the police is hard to believe. For some utterances no police will come down and enter into a scuffle with the persons moving on the road. It is also required to be noted that in the post-mortem report, the expert has opined that the injury was caused from a distant range, and, if it would have been fired in the manner in which it is narrated then there would have been blackening and tattooing. The doctor's opinion is an independent opinion and cannot be disregarded. The map which is produced on the record also suggests that the incident has not taken place on the road itself but just near a shop on a place like pavement. It is not suggested that during the course of scuffle persons moved from one place to another place. It is also hard to believe that three police personnel could not control one person who was without any weapon in his hands and it appears from the aforesaid picture that a story is created as if crime is not committed and is an accidental fire. No reliance can be placed on such theory. It is a case of killing of a person who was totally innocent.