The Manipur High Court Bar Association has urged the people to file police complaints and provide evidence if they are aware of alleged instances of complicity of security forces personnel in the violence in the State. The association has further called upon people to come forward with such allegations only if they have some evidence to back it.
Asking the people to either go to the police or come to them with evidence, MHCBA president advocate Yumnam Nimolchand told The Hindu on Monday, “There are many such allegations being levelled from all over the valley region. We do not know how much truth there is to it, but we have urged the public so that if any such case is there, it can be investigated and taken to court as per legal procedure.”
Following this public call for evidence of alleged complicity of security forces, a source expressed concern that this would pose yet another challenge to their operations in the State. “We will be mired in legal cases,” said the source, adding that several operations have been hindered in the past as large mobs prevented their movement.
“Complaints are mostly about the paramilitary forces, and in some cases, the Assam Rifles, being allegedly complicit in attacks being led by alleged Kuki militants,” Mr. Nimolchand said, adding that the Bar Association could not be seen to be taking sides and that was why this announcement was made to the public in Imphal on Sunday.
Ex gratia payment
Also, the Bar Association urged the State government that ex gratia be given to victims only after verifying their citizenship status.
“There are also many reports of illegal immigrants — Kuki-Chin people — coming in from Myanmar. There has to be verification so that the ex gratia amount goes only to those who are citizens of India,” Mr. Nimolchand said.
Also read | Manipur — this is not a time for finger-pointing
In the ethnic conflict between the dominant Meitei people and the Scheduled Tribe Kuki-Zomi people that began on May 3, over 140 have been killed so far and around 460 injured, leaving over 50,000 people to take refuge in relief camps across the State. The State government has announced an ex gratia of ₹10 lakh to the families of deceased, ₹2 lakh for grievous injuries, and ₹25,000 for non-grievous injuries. In addition, the government has announced ₹2 lakh for families that have lost their homes to the violence.
Meanwhile, the Manipur government has asked the State police to register an FIR against the Zomi Students’ Federation Union for publishing a booklet called, “The Inevitable Split - Documents on State–Sponsored ethnic cleansing in Manipur, 2023”, based on a complaint letter by an Imphal-based advocate. The State government, in a July 8 communique to the Director General of Police, asked that the accused author and the organisation be booked under Section 154 of the IPC.
Section 154 describes penalty for owners or occupiers of land where an unlawful assembly or a riot has taken place.