ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Admission Opens a Can of Worms

On 23 July 2009, the Manipur police claimed to have had an encounter with a “People’s Liberation Army Cadre” Sanjit, in which he died. While this version was widely contested by the local people who claimed that Sanjit was murdered in a cold-blooded manner, a set of sequential photographs depicting Manipur police commandos overpowering an unarmed Sanjit, taking him inside a shuttered-down chemist shop and then coming out with his bullet-ridden dead body, published in the Tehelka magazine, left no doubts about the nature of the killing. The Manipur administration, however, reiterated its stand.

Recently, head constable Herojit Singh, who had allegedly “fought back” Sanjit leading to his death and was later awarded a gallantry medal, told the press that he had killed an unarmed Sanjit on orders from his higher-ups. His confession reiterates the claims of civil society groups. While Herojit waited for six years to come out with the statement, in the meantime the assistant superintendent of police (ASP), who allegedly ordered the “encounter,” has been promoted. Significantly, Herojit has claimed that the then ASP had also told him that the Chief Minister and the Director General of Police had given the “go ahead.” Though the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which conducted an inquiry into the case has charge-sheeted nine policemen, none has yet been arrested. As for the superior officers or higher-ups, no action was initiated by the CBI. Herojit’s statement shows that there is a clear hierarchy at work, wherein the higher-ups are protected and the lower-ranked officers are tried if there be a pressing case like Sanjit’s.

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