Sunday, 11 May 2008

Appeal regarding Extra-Judicial Killing of Four Persons in Imphal East District of Manipur

Name of victims:
1. Mr. Mohammad Qudur Ali, aged 22 years, son of Mr. Mohammad Hayat Ali, residing at Urup Makha Leikai, Imphal East district, Manipur
2. Mr. Naorem Boinao, aged 23 years, residing at Kakwa Naorem Leikai, Imphal East district, Manipur
3. Mr. Santhosh Pradhan, aged 26 years, residing at Manthripukhri, Imphal East district, Manipur
4. Mr. Khaidem Boker, aged 27 years, residing at Kakwa Huidrom Leikai, Imphal East district, Manipur

Name of alleged perpetrators: Police officers attached to Manipur State Police Commando Unit

Date of incident: 7 February 2008

Place of incident: Imphal East district, Manipur

Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC) voices its concern regarding the case of the murder of the four persons named above. BHRPC has been informed that all of them were taken into custody by the state police commando unit in two different incidents and were later found dead on the same day evening.

In the case of Mr. Mohammad Ali, Ali was arrested from a queue while he was waiting for his turn to obtain an election identity card in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office. Whereas in the case of the other three victims they were taken into custody from various places within Imphal East district, without reason attributed for their arrest. Hours after arrest the bodies of the victims were found abandoned in suspicious circumstances within the district, of which Ali's body was found near the place where he was taken into custody. All the four victims have gunshot injuries on their body. The police has accused that the victims were related to anti-national forces active in the region and that they were all murdered while they tried to escape.

The manner of arrest and the circumstances in which their dead bodies were found suggests that the state police commando unit has in fact murdered persons on mere suspicion, which is an offense in law in India.

BHRPC has been informed that a Joint Action Committee (JAC) has been formed to protest against the murders and that the state Chief Minister has agreed to order an enquiry into the incident. It is highly suspicious that four persons arrested from different places in the state under diverse circumstances were all found dead hours after their arrest. It is equally unbelievable that they all tried to escape from the custody soon after arrest.

I therefore request you to ensure that:

1. the enquiry ordered into the cases are conducted impartially;

2. the witnesses in all the four cases are given adequate protection;

3. the police officers responsible for the incidents and their immediate commanding officers are kept under suspension until a civilian court decides the matter;

4. the state government pays an ex-gratia payment to the relatives of the victims, and;

5. the progress of the enquiry and investigation in this case is periodically released in the form of press releases by the state government.

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