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Judicial inquiry into ‘fake encounter’

Iboyaima Laithangbam

IMPHAL: The Manipur government on Thursday appointed a judicial inquiry commission, to be headed by Justice (retd.) P. G. Aggarwal of the Gauhati High Court, to go into an alleged fake encounter.

The commission will look into the circumstances leading to the killing of a pregnant woman and a former militant here on July 23. Five persons were injured in the alleged encounter involving police commandos.

The commission has been asked to submit a report in two months and also make recommendations to prevent such incidents.

The government had earlier volunteered to conduct a departmental inquiry into the incident. When people’s protests surfaced, it issued an order for a magisterial inquiry.

However, in view of the widespread agitations, Union Home Minister P. Chidamabaram asked Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh to set up a judicial inquiry.

The government claims that the necessary order was not issued immediately because no sitting or retired high court judge was available to head the commission. However, the Apunba Lup, the apex body of the civil organisations in Manipur which has been spearheading the agitation, says there was no need to set up any more inquiry.

There were photographs showing the cold-blooded murder of the former militant by the commandos, it said. The government should punish them.

Apunba Lup demand

The Apunba Lup is also demanding the resignation of the Chief Minister, who is also in-charge of the Home Ministry, owning moral responsibility since he had misled the Assembly with a statement on the incident contending that it was a real encounter.

To curb the continuing agitations, an indefinite curfew had been clamped in Manipur. Several women and men were injured in police action during the agitations.

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