After SC rebuke, CBI registers FIRs on fake encounters in Manipur

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Indian army
An Indian Army soldier (representational photo) | Michael J. MacLeod

CBI is set to probe alleged killings by the Army, the Assam Rifles, central paramilitary forces, and Manipur Police Commandos – a special state force. 

New Delhi: After being reprimanded by the Supreme Court for not complying with its directives in the Manipur extra-judicial killings case, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has now filed 30 fresh cases of alleged staged encounters in the state.

“We had earlier filed 11 FIRs and over two days, we filed 30 more. This is in compliance with the SC order to file separate cases in each incident that was reported,” a CBI official told ThePrint.

The FIRs have been filed under the provisions of the Arms Act, the Explosive Substances Act, and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The cases involve the Maratha Light Infantry and the Sikh Regiment of the Army, its adjunct Assam Rifles, central paramilitary forces, and the Manipur Police Commandos – a special force of the Manipur police. Manipur has been under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act since 1980, thwarting investigations into alleged extra-judicial killings in the state.

These cases were earlier investigated by commissions of inquiry, judicial inquiry teams, the Gauhati High Court, and the National Human Rights Commission.

The apex court had ordered the CBI to examine 97 such cases reported between 2000 and 2011 by 31 December 2017. When the CBI failed to comply with the order, the court extended the deadline to 31 January 2018 and directed the CBI director to personally monitor the progress.

The CBI has also set up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe these cases as per court orders. The court had also directed that the SIT must exclusively undertake the task of implementing the court’s orders, and the CBI should not change the officials in the team without its nod.

“The SIT will be headed by a DIG level officer to investigate these cases. Though we have complied with the order of the Supreme Court, more cases may be registered as the probe moves ahead,” an official said.

Encounter killings in Manipur have been under the court’s scrutiny since 2012, after the Extra Judicial Executions Victim’s Association moved the top court. Last year, justices Madan B. Lokur and U.U. Lalit, in a scathing indictment of the state government in dealing with complaints of extra judicial killings, said the court would review over 1,500 such cases.

The next hearing is scheduled for 12 February.

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