These were stage-managed incidents, committee tells SC

A Supreme Court-appointed committee, probing extra-judicial killings of 1,500 people in Manipur, has concluded that fake encounters claimed the lives of at least six persons in separate incidents.

A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai on Thursday took on record the report of the three-member panel and asked amicus curiae Menaka Guruswamy; Additional Solicitor-General Paras Kuhad; the National Human Rights Commission; and the Manipur government to respond to it.

“The so-called encounter killings of the six victims by the police were not true encounters,” the Bench said in a brief order before posting the matter for further hearing on April 9.

While constituting the committee — comprising the former Supreme Court judge, Justice N. Santosh Hegde; the former Chief Election Commissioner, J.M. Lyngdoh; and the former Karnataka DGP, Ajay Kumar Singh — the Bench had on January directed it to complete the probe into six cases, in the first instance, in 12 weeks.

The committee said the killings were undertaken “with impunity” and there was a “certain pattern” indicating that they were all stage-managed. Despite specific guidelines from the Supreme Court, issued from time to time to the States and the Centre, to prevent fake encounters, the extra-judicial killings continued in Manipur.

The Extra Judicial Killings Victims Association had filed a public interest litigation petition for a probe into the alleged fake encounter killings in the last decade.