EEVFAM on Monday alleged that the Union Home Ministry is trying to block the process of justice in fake encounter cases by denying prosecution sanction and drag the families of the victims of extrajudicial killing to the court on flimsy grounds at every available opportunity.
Overcoming a number of hurdles and with great difficulty, some of fake encounter cases were charge-sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) with evidence of unlawful killings, EEVFAM president Renu Takhellambam said at the 12th foundation day of Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association (EEVFAM) at Manipur Press Club, Imphal on Monday.
Renu said that EEVFAM is an organisation of about 1000 Manipuri women who are wives and mothers of the men who were killed by police and security forces in fake encounters.
EEVFAM is a registered Trust established for the benefit of the families of the victims of extrajudicial executions at the hands of state and central security forces with main objectives of collectively seeking justice by using all lawful and legitimate means in connection to extra judicial executions and for overall welfare of its members.
In order to book and punish the erring security personnel, EEVFAM approached, by way of a writ petition, and the Supreme Court directed the CBI to investigate the cases of extrajudicial killings, Renu informed.
Renu further informed that a total 1,528 people were reportedly killed in fake encounters across the state from May 1979 to May 2012 and EEVFAM had requested that offenders be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
The cases involved personnel of Manipur Police and Central Forces who were engaged for counter insurgency operations. But the CBI registered only 39 FIR cases, charge-sheeted only 19 cases and of the 19 cases charged, the CBI submitted closure of nine cases citing lack of evidence, the EEVFAM president stated.
Dissatisfied with the closure reports, EEVFAM filed a protest petition. And following the protest petition, the Supreme Court had directed the CJM, Thoubal and CJM, Imphal East for reinvestigation of two separate cases, out of the nine cases, she added.
However, in all the cases involving the armed forces of the Union, the Union Home Ministry has denied prosecution sanction. Even though CBI has found prima facie involvement of the armed forces personnel in the extrajudicial killing, the Union Home Ministry is advancing an alternative factual position that they are innocent and denied prosecution sanction, Renu informed.
“The families of the victims of extrajudicial killing have been painfully waiting for justice for many decades. After a monumental effort, the Supreme Court has finally taken cognizant of the injustice meted out on them and the CBI has meticulously brought out the facts with evidence of the unlawful killings”, said EEVFAM secretary Edina Yaikhom.
Recalling the difficulties while forming EEFVAM, Babloo Loitongbam, executive director of Human Rights Alert (HRA), said that the Registrar of Socities had refused registration and we had to establish it as a Trust for the benefit of the families of the victims of extrajudicial executions.
Moreover, while filing writ petitions before the Supreme Court, many government advocates refused to help. However, the cases were filed based on the right to life, Babloo said.
Following the direction from the SC, the CBI started investigation and some cases were charge-sheeted while final reports of some were submitted. However, while trials for those cases submitted with charge-sheet against the state police personnel have started, it is unfortunate that trials for those cases, which involved army personnel, are yet to begin due to lack of prosecution sanction from the Union Ministry, said Babloo.
He said, it is very unfortunate that the Union Home Ministry should try to block the process of justice by denying prosecution sanction. Instead, the Ministry filed a petition claiming that EEVFAM and the victim’s family cannot raise an objection and file a protest. It is something like blocking the process of justice, he alleged.
“This raises a question as to whether the Union Home Ministry considers citizens as third-class or subject of killing at any time”, Babloo said.
He informed that July 11 is an important day for the human rights movement in Manipur as it is the day the dreaded operations Blue Bird started in 1987. It is also the day Thangjam Manorama was brutally murdered in 2004 and it is also the day EEVFAM was founded in 2009, he said.
Khaidem Mani, acting chairperson of Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC), suggested filing representation before the National Human Rights Commission regarding prosecution sanction.
After the observation of the foundation day, EEVFAM members submitted a memorandum to governor of Manipur urging to immediately grant prosecution sanctions to all the armed forces personnel found to be involved in the extrajudicial killing of the civilians by the CBI/SIT in Manipur, the Writ Petition no. 129 of 2012 of the Supreme Court of India.