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First Step Towards Justice? July 23, 2009 Ghost Catches Up, CBI Chargesheets 9 Cops, Including Two Inspectors

IMPHAL, Sep 9: The first step towards justice may have just started with the Central Bureau of Investigation, filing charge sheets against nine policemen including two Inspectors in connection with the controversial killing of Chungkham Sanjit Singh, a former militant and a young pregnant woman, Th Rabina on July 23, 2009 at BT Road. Five others were also injured on the day, which the police claimed was a shoot out with armed militants.

The nine cops named in the charge sheet include the then OC of City Police, Inspector Munal Singh, Commando Inspector H Devendra, Head Constable Thounaojam Herojit Singh, Rifleman Ngangom Toyaima Singh, Constable W Binoykumar Singh, Havildar Th Jagat, Rifleman Md Imran Khan, Head Constable Oinam Keshor Singh and Constable Makan Kanchung Chothi.

Taking cognizance of the charge sheet filed by the CBI, the Chief Judicial Magistrate has issued warrants of arrest against the nine accused cops.

The cops have been charged sheeted under 302, 218, 203 of the Indian Penal Code as well as substantive offences, said a statement issued by the CBI late today evening.

Following a writ petition filed by the mother of the late Sanjit, the Gauhati High Court had roped in the service of the CBI to investigate the FIR lodged at City Police station here.

‘As per the Manipur police version, the FIR was lodged in the City Police Station against an unknown youth on July 23, 2009, who was allegedly shot dead in retaliatory firing by police commandos on BT Road,’ said the statement further.

‘Pursuant to the High Court order, the CBI registered a case against some personnel of Manipur police commandos on January 16, 2010. However, during the investigation, another case was registered by CBI corresponding to Manipur City Police Station,’ added CBI in the statement.

Giving details of the investigation conducted by the CBI, the statement said on July 23, last year, the police commandos were on their routine frisking duty on BT Road and then came across one youth, who fired at them and ran towards the eastern direction of the road and mingled with the crowd.’

The police also fired back and in the process, a young pregnant woman Th Rabina was killed while five others sustained injuries of varying degrees

Police cordoned the area and started search operations. ‘The youth who was present on BT Road, was picked up by the police inside the store room of Social Time Emporium/Maimu Pharmacy. He was not armed at that time and was accosted by the commandos and shot dead by them and a pistol was shown falsely as recovered from him, said the CBI in the charge sheet.

The CBI minced no word in stating ‘there was no such pistol in possession of the youth and police planted the same after it was picked up from the nearby Gambhir Singh Shopping Arcade.’

Initially the killing of Sanjit and Rabina did not create a public uproar, other than the perfunctory charges of custodial killing, but after Tehelka came out with a series of tell tale photographs, which were published in the Imphal papers on August 2, 2009, which showed Sanjit being accosted and pushed inside Maimu pharmacy and then later the police carrying the corpse of Sanjit, Manipur, especially Imphal rose as one to condemn the incident and demand appropriate incident.

The July 23 incident also created a flutter in the then ongoing Monsoon session of the Assembly, with the Opposition, un- wittingly throwing their weight behind the Chief Minister’s remarks in connection with the killing. Post July 23, 2009, life was paralyzed, especially in Imphal, with the Apunba Lup spearheading the movement.

Demand for the resignation of Chief Minister on moral ground reached a crescendo so also befitting penalty for the top rung of the Police Department. Classes were boycotted in Imphal for about four months, which severely hampered their academic calendar, forcing many parents to send their children outside Manipur for further studies.

However the Chief Minister stuck on and in the first press conference held after the uproar started, Ibobi had clearly mentioned that CH Sanjit was a ‘pucca’ PLA cadre at the time of his death, while the general belief was that he had retired from the outfit.

The CBI’s statement too says that Sanjit was a former rebel.

The uproar ended abruptly and in an anti-climax, with the Apunba Lup calling off their agitation, without achieving any of their major demands.

The two JACs formed in connection with the death of Sanjit and Rabina also disbanded.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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