On 8th July, the Supreme Court delivered an interim judgement in connection with a 2012 petition filed by families of the victims of fake encounters in Manipur. Calling themselves the Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Association, they petitioned the Supreme Court four years ago seeking a detailed investigation into 1,528 documented cases of fake encounters in the state. So far, a court-appointed commission led by Justice Santosh Hegde has confirmed 15 cases to have indeed been fake encounters carried out by the armed forces.
The Attorney General, representing the Government of India, expressed the concern that inquiries into allegations of fake encounters could “demoralise the security forces”. However, prevailing on the side of justice, the Court judgment observed that “normalcy not being restored cannot be a fig leaf for prolonged, permanent deployment of the armed forces, as it would mock at our democratic process”.
The AFSPA has been imposed in Manipur since 1958. Elected civilian governments find it difficult to govern democratically. Meanwhile, the Army has been given a free hand to keep the people in a state of uncertainty. Youth are routinely rounded up, shot, arrested or made to “disappear”. The Army has enjoyed complete immunity under the AFSPA. The brutal rape and murder of Manorama Devi in 2004 and the subsequent protest by mothers of Manipur, who disrobed challenging the Army to rape them, was a reminder to the Indian people of the oppressive Army rule in Manipur.
That is why, the people of Manipur have consistently maintained that normalcy can be restored only if AFSPA is immediately repealed and army rule is ended. In a permanent state of fascist terror and negation of basic human rights, Manipuris are treated with suspicion even in their own land. Anyone could be killed in a fake encounter or raped by armed soldiers.
Lok Raj Sangathan stands in solidarity with the people of Manipur who are working tirelessly to expose the truth, restore their dignity and rights, and end army rule. It is because of this persistent and completely legitimate struggle that the Supreme Court is inquiring once more into the state of affairs under Army rule in Manipur. There can be no justification for the anti-democratic and large-scale violation of human rights in Manipur.
Lok Raj Sangathan calls on all justice loving people to raise their voices to demand that Army rule must be ended and AFSPA must be scrapped immediately so as to restore normalcy, peace and dignity for the people in Manipur!