The Supreme Court on Friday while expressing concern over extra judicial killings asked the Centre and Manipur government to take up the issue with utmost seriousness.

A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ms. Ranjana Desai while hearing a writ petition complaining about alleged mass fake encounter killings told counsel for Manipur government “you people are killing each other. You are doing what Maharashtra and Gujarat government did in fake encounters. It is a serious matter. You should take up the matter with utmost seriousness the way in which we had taken it up. We want you to respond by December 3 and we will hear on December 6.”

The Bench also granted time till December 3 to the Centre to respond on the plea for scrapping the Armed Forces (Assam and Manipur Special Powers) Act in Manipur. The Bench was hearing a petition filed by Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association Manipur (EEVFAM), seeking a probe into cases of extra judicial killings in Manipur.

According to the petitioner, EEVFAM is an organisation of widows and mothers of those killed by police and security forces. The petitioner placed before the court details of 62 cases from 2007 to 2012 and also a list of 1,528 cases of extrajudicial executions compiled by the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and the UN. The petitioner documented 1528 extra judicial executions carried out by the police and the security forces in Manipur and said the large majority of these were killings in custody and in cold blood after torturing the persons in custody.

Hence the present writ petition for a direction to set up a special investigation team to investigate the cases; to conduct disciplinary proceedings in all the cases listed and to facilitate the giving of evidence by the family members and other eyewitnesses to punish the guilty; paying compensations to the families of the victims and to declare that the sanction under section 197 Cr.P.C and section 6 of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 or any other similar provision in any other law was not necessary to be obtained for prosecution in cases of fake encounters.

In its response the Manipur government said about 30 extremist organisations were operating in the State, out of which six were very powerful and they were heavily armed with sophisticated weapons. Their object was to form an independent Manipur by secession of Manipur State from India and they had been indulging in violent activities including killing of civilians and security forces over a decade there had been 3,396 incidents and 1,579 security personnel had been killed and 1,817 persons injured. The encounters were genuine and not fake as alleged by the petitioner and this had been verified by the NHRC, the State said and sought dismissal of the writ petition.