Panel opts for Parbung sitting
April 18 tentatively fixed for sitting to begin, Govt apprised of panel's decision
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, April 06: After minutely considering the requests of a number of tribal organisations that the Justice (Retd) Rajkhowa Inquiry Commission hold its sitting at Parbung to record the statements and affidavits of the alleged rape victims and witnesses, the Commission has decided to hold its temporary sitting at Parbung.

The Rajkhowa Commission was instituted by the State Government to investigate the allegations of mass rape of Hmar women by cadres of two non-tribal underground outfits at Lungthulien under Parbung police station on January 16 this year.

The Commission has also been assigned the task of probing the allegations of M Naobi Chanu that she was sexually molested while in the custody of Thoubal police commandos.

"We have discussed the likely inconveniences that alleged rape victims and other witnesses might face while taking the 150 km long distance from their villages to Imphal along the poorly maintained road as well as their journey back home," said Justice (Retd) Rajkhowa in an exclusive chat with The Sangai Express today.

"After discussing the inconveniences the villagers may face, the Commission has decided to record the statements at Parbung and once we hold the sitting there, we hope the people particularly the witnesses will extend their fullest co-operation.

Even without submitting their affidavits, they can give their testimonies," said the Retired Justice of Calcutta High Court.

"We will put forward an application to the State authorities to make necessary arrangements for travelling and accommodation to hold the sitting at Parbung," said Rajkhowa adding that the application would be submitted today.

The Commission has tentatively fixed April 18 to begin holding the sitting at Parbung, said Rajkhowa and added, "We will see and act according to the response of the State Government." Significantly, Rajkhowa has chaired five Inquiry Commissions in Assam.

Rajkhowa is scheduled to leave Manipur tomorrow and he will return on April 17, sources in the Commission said.

The Hmar Women Association had earlier urged Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh to let the Commission hold its sitting at Parbung so that the alleged rape victims may give their testimonies comfortably.

The same matter was also put before the Commission.

The Commission will also investigate into the allegations raised by M Naobi Chanu that she was sexually molested while in the custody of Thoubal police commandos and the time to submit affidavits has been extended by 14 days.