The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said on Tuesday that a majority of fake encounters in many Indian states were by police officers, and not the armed forces.

“AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) draws a lot of ire and there is a notion that repealing it will curb fake encounter cases, but our findings show that the majority of such killings are carried out by the state police who enjoy protection of their government,” National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) member Satyabrata Pal told IANS.

“Police forces have to be disciplined and the only way that is possible is by giving out exemplary punishments to the guilty police officers and only then will such cases reduce,” he added.

The NHRC, as part of its series of visits to many states to monitor the socio-economic conditions and complaints of fake encounters, recently visited Manipur and found gross violations of human rights.

The commission said it investigated 44 cases of fake encounters that took place in Manipur between 2005 and 2010, and found the state government provided compensation in the form of monetary relief only in three cases.

“The state government is just not serious about punishing the guilty. In fact, there was a lack of cooperation with our officials too,” said Pal.

Explaining the commission’s limitations to take action against the guilty, Pal said the panel can’t take any action against the armed forces due to the AFSPA, and the police are being protected by the state governments.

Pal added that the fake encounter cases were a matter of concern only in Manipur and Assam while the other north-eastern states were “peaceful”.