NATIONAL

Judicial probe ordered into "mass rape" of Hmar tribals



Correspondent

Inquiry will also go into "police torture" of schoolteacher

Action follows general strikes People boycott magisterial probe UNLF denies charge

IMPHAL: The Manipur Government has constituted a judicial inquiry into the allegations of mass rape of 21 Hmar tribal girls by United National Liberation Front (UNLF) insurgents and torture of schoolteacher Maibam Naobi by some police commandos. The appointment of S.P. Rajkhowa, a retired Gauhati High Court judge, to head the probe follows general strikes and sit-in protests by women. He will submit his report in two months.

All sections felt that no purpose would be served by a magisterial inquiry. In fact, no affidavit was filed before the committee headed by P.Vaiphei, Thoubal district magistrate.

There were complaints galore that the UNLF insurgents, during a raid on Hmar villages in Churachandpur district, raped the girls. Many terrified villagers fled to Mizoram.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi has said the Government knows where kidnapped pastor T. Lumkin has been held by militants of the Kuki Liberation Army (KLA) since January 17. However the State and Central forces are restrained from launching a rescue operation for fear of physical harm to him.