Manipur in ferment over killing of unarmed ex-militant

Imphal, Feb 1 (IANS) Human rights activists are demanding action against Manipur’s police brass over a head constable’s confession that he killed an unarmed former militant on the orders of his seniors.

Thounaojam Heroijit, the head constable who has admitted to shooting an unarmed Chungkham Sanjit on July 23, 2009, has said Superintendent of Police Akoijam Jhalajit gave the order to kill.

The senior officer reportedly said that both Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and then director general of police Yumnam Joykumar were in the know of the matter.

Joykumar is now a prominent member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Manipur BJP president Thounaojam Chaoba has demanded the chief minister’s resignation over the cold-blooded killing that has sent shockwaves across the state.

Chaoba says Okram Ibobi should own moral responsibility for the ex-militant’s death.

Meanwhile, family members of Thokchom Rabina, who was killed a few minutes before Sanjit was shot dead, are demanding to know the identity of the policeman who killed her.

The police version is that Sanjit killed her and that in the follow-up police action, he (Sanjit) got killed.

Anand Meitei, president of the Threatened Indigenous Peoples Group, said a meeting of rights and civil society groups as well as families of the victims of staged encounters will be held on February 6.

Activists say that in the last 30 years of violence in the state, at least 1,528 people have been killed in so-called “encounters”.

Some human rights activists wondered why Superintendent of Police Jhalajit had not filed a defamation case against Herojit if the latter was lying.

Herojit earlier said he was staying with “some well-wishers” and he has spurned an offer of Home Minister Gaikhangam to accept security.

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