HC Verdict Energizes Manorama’s Family, Pushes For Fit Penalty, No More MHA Caveat, Ball In State Government’s Court

Imphal, Sep 6: With the Principal Seat of the Gauhati High Court allowing the State Government to open and act upon the findings of the Justice Upendra Commission in the murder of Thangjam Manorama Devi by Assam Rifles soldiers, the victim’s family has urged the authorities to expedite the ruling and punish the guilty personnel.

This order itself sets aside the contention of the Assam Rifles, that its personnel cannot be tried by the State Government as it operates under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the report of the Commission should be sub- mitted to the Union Home Ministry.

The bullet riddled body of Manorama, then 32, was found in the wee hours of July 11, 2004 at Laipharok Maring village in Imphal east. She was picked up by 17 AR soldiers from her Bamon Kampu Mayai Leikai residence the previous night, after issuing an arrest warrant.

Retired sessions Judge C Upendra Singh, who headed Commission of inquiry, submitted his report to the Government on November 22, 2004.

Human rights lawyer Meihoubam Rakesh, who assisted Colin Gonsalves in contesting the writ appeals filed before the Gauhati High Court on behalf of Khumanlei Devi and Th Dolendro Singh, mother and younger brother of Manorama Devi, filed a representation to Chief Secretary DS Poonia and Commissioner V Vumlunmang today.

While pointing that the August 31 clearly stated that the State Government should examine the inquiry report and take appropriate action against the 17th Bn Assam Rifles personnel, if any one of them are indicted in the report without loss of time, the representation urged the Government to take up appropriate steps.

As instructed by the clients, the representation urged the Government to place the inquiry report before the State Cabinet and take appropriate actions on the basis of its findings without further delay.

‘It is, therefore, requested you to kindly place the Inquiry Report before the State Cabinet so as to consider the same and take appropriate actions on the basis of the findings of the Inquiry Report by the Cabinet without further delay for the ends of justice. My clients as well as the people of Manipur seek justice and it should be done forthwith to restore their confidence in the Constitution of India,’ it said.

Following the judgment of the High Court as well as the representations from the family members, the SPF Cabinet is set to discuss the matter.

The Principal Seat of Gauhati High Court, comprising of Justice Amitabh Roy and Justice BS Asarbral, had ruled that the State Government can initiate action against Central forces.

An official from the State Home Department said that his office has received a copy of the ruling passed by the Gauhati High Court on August 31.

The matter will be discussed by the SPF Cabinet and a decision on the course of action to be taken up will be taken then.

Rakesh, who is also the Director of Manipur unit Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), has been fighting for the cause of victims of human rights violations by using different mechanisms which are available under Domestic laws as well as International laws since he joined the network in 2002.

The network is a nationwide collective of lawyers and social activists dedicated to advancing human rights and social justice for all.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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