Human rights activists and family members of the 1,528 missing persons have welcomed the Friday’s Supreme Court directive regarding 62 missing persons. Meihoubam Rakesh, director of the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), which had filed the petition relating to the 1528 cases told The Hindu that he welcomed the order. However he said justice could be meted out expeditiously if there was a fast track system instead of the conventional method.
When the cases were brought up, the Supreme Court had selected six cases randomly and one of them was the case of Azad Khan (12), a class VII student. How could a 12-year-old student be a terrorist, an apex court judge wanted to know.
Azad was reading a newspaper in a neighbour's verandah on March 4, 2009 waiting for his friend to go to school, when police commandos and some army personnel raided nearby houses. Some of them beat up the boy and frogmarched him to the nearby field while parents and others followed them pleading to set him free since he was innocent.
Reports said that one police commando shot him dead in front of the stunned family members and planted a hand gun. Later a report was submitted to the police saying that there was an exchange of fire with Muslim terrorists and Khan was fatally injured in the cross fire.
While the high court ordered payment of the compensation, the apex court will hear this and other cases submitted by HRLN.
In a sensational confession recently, a police commando, T. Herojit, told the court and reporters that he had shot dead an overpowered and unarmed former insurgent in Imphal at the orders of a superior officer. Meanwhile human skeletons have been unearthed at several places which activists say could be of some of the missing persons. From the remains recovered, it is evident that some of the victims were women.
The story of Manorama
Thangjam Manorama, a young girl of Bamon Kampu was arrested by personnel of 17 Assam Rifles on July 11, 2004. It was alleged that she was gang raped and shot dead. Her body was found the next day. The official version was that she was escaping despite warning and was shot down. But several bullets had hit her private parts which meant that she could not have been running away at the time of firing.
Though there have been judicial and other inquiries, no army personnel or policeman has been booked. However, the Supreme Court had ordered payment of financial solatiums to the “widows for the mental torture they underwent”. It is on record that the Union government has never sanctioned prosecution since it felt that such a step will demoralise the rank and file.