The Indian state of Manipur is reeling after pictures of Chingkham Sanjit, an unarmed 27-year old, being shot and killed by the police surfaced earlier this week.
Tehelka.com, a news outlet known for its investigative journalism released exclusive pictures of Police arresting Sanjit, who does not appear to be resisting. After a few moments he is shot and killed in a crowded market place.
“….a shootout that happened in the heart of Imphal, Manipur’s capital, barely 500 metres from the state assembly, on July 23. They show the moments before, during and after the ‘encounter killing’ of a 27-year-old Indian citizen – a young man called Chongkham Sanjit, shot dead by a heavily-armed detachment from Manipur’s Rapid Action Police Force, commonly known as the Manipur Police Commandos (MPC).”
Lakhipuronline further describes the police action before Sanjit was killed:
“The captured scenes, under no circumstance indicate than (sic) Sanjit resisted arrest. Police claimed that Sanjit tried to evade arrest and fired indiscriminately while fleeing through, unarguably the most crowded place in the capital city of Manipur. Rather the 27-year old is shown pushed and shoved by the security men inside a pharmacy before his lifeless corpse is carried out and laying (sic) still in a police vehicle.”
A pregnant bystander was killed later when the police tried to control the crowd, which gathered after learning about the death.
Manipur’s Chief Minister is now under huge public pressure to act. VisionMp reports that:
“Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh on Wednesday ordered a judicial probe into the alleged fake encounter and ordered the immediate suspension of six policemen involved in the incident.”
Times Now is now reporting that even though the Chief Minister has initiated probe of the incident, residents are now demanding his resignation.
This incident, unfortunately is not an isolated one. Alleged human rights violations in Manipur have been reported for a number of years.
Human Rights Watch released a report on July 17,2009 which questions the government’s security tactics:
“Local human rights groups have documented several killings in Manipur in recent months in which the killers are alleged to be members of the security forces. The Special Powers Act gives members of the armed forces broad authority to search, arrest, and shoot-to-kill – and protects them from prosecution. The culture of violence perpetuated by this law has become so deeply rooted that the police now routinely commit the same kinds of abuses long practiced by the army and state paramilitary forces.
In several cases, security forces allegedly robbed and killed people, but then claimed that the deaths resulted from “encounters” – shootouts with armed group.”
Twitter user rituparnabhuyan says:
a bullet in the wrong head (and a few camera shots) has shaken the state, as Manipur boils, my heart goes out to the innocent victims in Imphal
It's a war zone in Manipur – where is the democracy http://is.gd/23vGV (must watch video : an eyeopener) (via @palinn) #fb
Thu Aug 06: I still wonder how the whole nation is silent if not sleeping on Manipur fake encounters. Really sad.
@keerthikiran because its Manipur. how many atrocities from the northeast come to limelight? its sad.