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Candlelight vigil protests fake encounter killings

IMPHAL:  Different communities from the North-East gathered today in huge numbers at Arts Faculty, Delhi University under the banner of North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS) and took out a candlelight vigil to protest against the fake encounter killings of Chongkham Sanjit and Rabina by Manipur Police Commandos (MPC) in 2009.

As part of its protest, NEFIS organized similar candlelight vigils at Punjab University in Chandigarh, Lakshmibai National University of Physical Education in Gwalior, Kokrakhar in Assam, Manipur University in Manipur, and various other places. The All India Candlelight Vigil was held to gather support across the country in demanding justice for Sanjit and Rabina, a press release from NEFIS stated.

The forum in their release alleged that the Police killed Sanjit and Rabina “on the orders” of then Additional SP, Imphal West, Dr Akoijam Jhalajhit, now SP of the same district. “This hard fact amply shows the way in which Manipur Police Commandos have been allowed to function by the Manipur Government and have consequently become adept at ‘finishing off’ people in extra-judicial killings and fake encounters,” NEFIS maintained. “This is a clear case of state-sponsored fake encounter, denying people their basic right to be tried through a due legal process,” it added.

Delhi University Professor, Deepak Naorem and Eminent Women’s Rights Activist, Dr. Maya John were also present at the occasion. Dr. Maya in her speech pointed out the way in which the Indian State and its arm, Manipur Government abuse their power to brutally curb the rights of their own people, the release informed.

The gathering demanded that Manipur Chief Minister and state government be held responsible for these extra-judicial killings and a probe ordered against them; that the then Additional SP, Imphal West, Akoijam Jhalajhit, be immediately suspended and an inquiry initiated; and appropriate compensation be provided to the victim’s family.

The demands also included an end to the “institutionalisation and legalisation” provided by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958. “The Government should tender an immediate apology not only to the victim’s family, but to the people of Manipur for brutally violating their democratic rights,” the forum demanded.

NEFIS pledged to continue its struggle and build a huge movement against the Manipur Government, till such extra-judicial killings and fake encounters stop and the culprits are brought to justice.

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