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Arrest Of RK Sanayaima Alias Meghen

According to a news of the BBC it has been said that RK Sanayaima alias Meghen, the Chairman of the United National Liberation Front revolutionary Organization of Manipur had been arrested by a combined team of the Indian Intelligence Agency, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) and their Bangladesh counterparts on 29 September 2010 at about 12:30 pm. IST in Lalmatia area of Dacca and had been taken to New Delhi on October 13, 2010. The arrest of Meghen done in Dacca by the personnel of RAW of India assisted by the Bangladesh police Agency is perhaps for an ‘offence’ allegedly committed by him against the Government of India under section 121,121A etc.

While a great credit goes to both the personnel of RAW and Bangladesh Intelligence Agency for their grand success of nipping the most important supreme Commander of the oldest revolutionary Organization of the valley of Manipur, its people cannot remain silent on the ‘legal loopholes’ that are there in regard to the arrest so made.

Under section 177 of the Criminal Procedure Code of India, the Prime Criminal Law of the land, it is very clearly enshrined that every ‘offence’ committed by a person shall ordinarily be ‘inquired or investigated’ into and ‘tried’ by a Court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction it was committed. According to this mandatory provision the ‘investigation or inquiry’ has to be carried out by the local Manipur Police and the ‘trial’ of the ‘offence’ charged against RK Sanayaima after duly proved beyond doubt has to be done in the Court of Session of Manipur.

The legal loopholes that have been there are – (1) even though the arrest done has been more than some three weeks no information about it has been communicated yet to the Police station concerned of Manipur who are to take up their immediate investigation according to Law (2) it is not clearly known as to whether the mandatory provisions of article 21 and, more importantly 22 of the Constitution of India have been fully complied with or not.

There are 4 fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution of India of an accused arrested for an offence punishable under the Indian Penal Code which cannot be deprived of at all or delayed availing of it’”(1) the rights to be informed ‘as soon as may be’ of the ground of arrest (2) the right to consult and to be represented by a lawyer of his own choice (3)the right to be produced before a Magistrate within 24 hours of the arrest (4) the freedom from detention beyond the said period except by the order of a Magistrate.

The right to be informed of grounds of arrest is necessary to enable the arrested person to know the grounds of his arrest and to prepare for his defense by him and his family members timely.

Article 22 of the Constitution of India is in the nature of a directive to the arresting authorities to disclose the grounds of arrest of a person immediately without any undue delay – this provision appears to have not been complied with in the case of the arrest of Meghen.

The inclusion of a chapter on Fundamental Rights in the Constitution of India was deemed essential to protect ‘rights and liberties of the people’ against the encroachment or excessive use of powers delegated by them to their Government. They are, in fact, the limitations upon the exercising of unduly excessive or dictatorial powers of the Government. These Fundamental Rights represent the basic values cherished by the people of India since the Vedic times and they are calculated to protect the ‘dignity’ and ‘human liberty’ of an individual and create conditions in which every human being can develop his personality with a change of his morale in the right direction. The Fundamental Rights enshrined in the Constitution of India, in fact, weave a pattern of ‘guarantee’ on the basic structure of human rights and impose negative obligation on the Sate not to encroach or exceed on the individual liberty in its various dimensions.

Regarding maintaining of Natural Justice and due process of Law it has been held by the Court that the Law and its procedures of the land should not deprive of an individual’s ‘life’ or personal ‘liberty’ i.e. they must be ‘just’, ‘fair’ and ‘reasonable’ in their applications.

According to the rulings of the Supreme Court of India the constitutional protection of Fundamental Rights have been extending even to the persons convicted and are in the jails undergoing the terms of their punishments awarded by the Court to the extent of punishments of death, life time or short term imprisonments saying clearly that ‘convicts are also human beings and not slaves’.

Inhuman and barbarous treatment with prisoners is a ‘Constitutional prohibition’. Speedy trial and legal aid to poor prisoners are also Constitutional rights available to them and does not depend upon the mercy of the state. For up-keeping the Fundamental Rights ‘judicial remedies’ in the form of ‘habeas corpus writ’ have been made available with the Courts for their coming to the rescue of the persons who have been dealt with illegally by the Law enforcing agencies. The Supreme Court has been extending constitutional protections to the individuals under extensive reference of the Human Rights also.

Inspite of all the strict limitations of Law and its procedures that are there as have been pointed out as above it is really most amazing to find that the Government of India have been remaining ‘absolutely silent’ on the arrest of R.K. Sanayaima alias Meghen for such a unduly long time instead of bringing him from Bangladesh and handing over to the state Police who may take up the necessary legal actions without further delay. In fact, it has been opined that as per resolutions, no. 237 of 1967 of the UN Security Council, 1976 of the UN General Assembly, of the third Geneva Conference and the International Humanitarian Law, Meghen’s case should be treated not as an ordinary criminal accused but as a ‘Prisoner of War’ and therefore his trial should be carried out in that status, if a ‘political dialogue’ with him to end the armed conflict is not possible. The earnest feeling of the people at large is that the Government of Manipur also should initiate taking steps of having a ‘peace-talk’ with him by taking the full advantage of his arrest made like the Government of Assam have done in the case of their ULFA leaders, Rajkhowa, Raju Barua etc. who have been also arrested outside India and are now lodged in Guwahati jail instead of dealing their cases as ordinary criminally accused persons.

In any case, the facts required to be known immediately for what ‘crime’ committed by Meghen in Bangladesh he was arrested at Dacca by the Intelligence Agency of India assisted by their counterparts of Bangladesh and not by their ‘executive Police’ concerned, and that his detention at Dhaka for such a long period in their custody is very much within the Legal parameters of both the countries, India and Bangladesh.

*The opinion is written by Waikhom Damodar Singh.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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