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Families of ‘fake encounter’ victims meet in Imphal

The families of 1,528 victims of extra-judicial killings by State and Central forces observed the 11th anniversary of the formation of an organisation, the Manipur-based Extra-judicial Execution Victims Families Association (EEVFAM), on Saturday at the office of the voluntary group Human Rights Alert in Imphal. Family members and human rights activists assembled at the office to pay floral tributes to the men and women who were slain in “fake encounters”.

Renu Takhellambam, president of EEVFAM, said, “Charge-sheets have been framed for 14 victims of extra-judicial killings. The Supreme Court directive was that the probe into the deaths of 39 persons should be completed within 2018, and just 14 cases could be charge-sheeted. There is inordinate delay in framing charges against the killers of other victims. This should be expedited. Prosecution sanctions should be given promptly. There are some delays in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

She further said, “We shall get justice only when there is support and cooperation from family members and the public.”

Babloo Loitongbam, executive director, Human Rights Alert, said, “We have documented some killings in staged fake encounters. We fear there may be some more cases not included in the list of 1,528 victims. We will welcome voluntary information from members of the public and families of the youths still missing.”

Compensation needed

Ms. Takhellambam was widowed at a young age when her husband was shot dead by the police near their home in a “fake encounter”. She said, “There should be special budgetary provision to pay compensations to victims of stage-managed fake encounters.” The Manipur government should suspend the 80 police and other personnel who had been charge-sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), she added.

Reports indicate that have been no “fake encounters” after the killing of an unarmed former insurgent in the Imphal city after the mysterious killing of a pregnant woman, Rabina. Though the police claimed that the former insurgent had come to buy medicine for a family elder, photographic evidence showed an unarmed person was pushed inside a pharmacy and a lifeless body was subsequently dragged out.

Ms. Takhellambam also regretted that so far no personnel of the Central forces had been named the “fake encounters”.

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