TODAY -
At last, govt agrees to Judicial probe
Six police commandos including one SI placed under suspension
CM denies having said 'no other alternative except killing'

Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal, August 05 2009: State Chief Minister Okram Ibobi today announced that a judicial inquiry will be instituted to investigate the Khwairamband market firing of July 23 last that left two persons including a young pregnant woman dead and five others injured.

Six Manipur Police commandos including one Sub-Inspector have been placed under suspension in connection with the incident.

The Chief Minister made this announcement at a crowded press conference held this evening at the conference hall of his secretariat.



Chief Minister O Ibobi addressing a press conference


Replying to a question raised by a lady journalist of Tehelka news weekly, the Chief Minister denied having said on the floor of the Manipur Assembly that "there is no other alternative except to kill (the UG elements)".

It was wrongly reported by the local media, Chief Minister Ibobi said.

Addressing the media persons including a few correspondents of national TV news channels who came specially for coverage of the present widespread agitations in Imphal following the Tehelka exposure of the 'fake encounter' at BT Road on July 23 last, the Chief Minister said that the government has no intention to hide the facts of the incident.

The government is prepared to bring out the truth and do justice in regard to the incident, he said.

Earlier, according to the report given to him by the DGP, the unfortunate incident of killing a young pregnant woman happened when an underground insurgent fired indiscriminately towards the public in trying to escape from a frisking commando party, and he was finally killed by the police commandos during an encounter, the CM narrated.

But after the Tehelka news magazine produced some photographs charging that the police commandos arrested a youth and killed him in a fake encounter, sections of the people, civil societies organisations and opposition parties raised a lot of hue and cry, he said.

Immediately, the government ordered a magistrial inquirty into the incident.

If the people are not satisfied, the government has no problem in making the CBI or a judicial inquiry investigate the incident.

The government would like to do justice.

Therefore, the government has decided to institute a judicial inquiry to be headed by preferably a sitting Judge or a retired Judge of the Gauhati High Court, he said.

In this regard, the government will write to the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court, he added.

Ibobi further announced that the government has decided to take action against those police officers and personnel who had given misleading report to him.

Six police commandos including one SI by the name of Punshiba Singh have been placed under suspension.

Anyone found guilty will be punished, he said.

Regarding the demand for his resignation from the Chief Minister made by sections of the people and the opposition parties, Ibobi said, "Let's see after the inquiry report".

On the question of his controversial remark that "there is no other alternative except to kill", the Chief Minister clarified that it was totally wrong report given by the local media.

What he had said was that there are too many UG outfits in the state, which is not not found anywhere else in the world.

He only gave an example of Mizoram where the erstwhile Mizo National Front (MNF) as an armed insurgent outfit used to operate during the days of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Despite Indira Gandhi's plea to the MNF not to do what it was doing, the MNF of which leader was Laldenga continued to operate.

So many people were killed in Mizoram during those days, he had said in the House, the Chief Minister narrated.

He had not said he will adopt such a policy of killing like what happened in Mizoram.

What he had said was that any kind of killings, whether by the security force or the underground, would not serve any purpose in Manipur, the Chief Minister reminded.

On another question whether the government will reign in the errant police commandos after the BT Road ignominy or was giving a free hand to the police commandos, the Chief Minister said, there is no question of giving free hand to the police commandos.

That is rule of law.

They have to work under the law.

Anyone who violates the law will be punished.

Regarding granting ex-gratia to the families of the victims, the Chief Minister said, if the deceased persons are found to be innocent and killed by UG or killed in crossfire, ex-gratia will be given.

On a question whether any action is being contemplated against the SP Imphal West and the DGP, Chief Minister Ibobi brushed aside the question saying that action has been taken against the first police officer who had given the report to the SP.

The police officer, one SI has been placed under suspension.

Report of any happening while the assembly session is going on must be placed in the House.

The report was given by the SI to the SP, the SP reported it to the DGP, and then the DGP reported it to him, the Chief Minister said.


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