Over 50 police personnel chargesheeted The road to justice

The cops must be feeling the heat. And why not ? After EEVFAM approached the Supreme Court with 1528 cases of alleged extra-judicial killings, more than 50 police personnel have been chargesheeted by the CBI in alleged extra-judicial killings and this spawns about 7 incidents of alleged fake encounters. Surely Manipur has come some way from the days when police commandos were a glorified version of the men in khakis and their presence was more than enough to send shivers down the spine of the civilians. The latest in line is the case of 10 policemen who have been summoned to Court after they were chargesheeted by the CBI/SIT on January 11 this year. A sense of poetic justice, if one may add and one will just have to rewind to the days when ‘late night encounters’ were staple news items in all the newspapers published in Imphal. The frequency of such news however declined drastically after the Santosh Hegde Committee thundered, “How can a 13/14 year old boy be a terrorist ?” This was more than five years back and things have certainly taken a turn for the better and now it is some of the trigger happy police personnel who may be said to be cowering with their tails tucked between their legs. Chargesheeted, this means the case is still on, but there is a sense of action being taken up to right the wrongs of the past and hopefully some valuable lessons should be learnt from the unfolding event. Again it was during those days when arrogance became the hallmark of anyone who made it to the ranks of the ‘elite commando team’, a glorified version of the men in khakis.
The irony of the reality lies in the fact that police personnel do not come under the immunity and impunity granted by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. No immunity but then what turned them into killing machines ? Obviously it had to do with some sort of a patronage and ‘blessings’ from the higher ups. Now things seem to have come full circle and it is the cops who are feeling the heat and credit for this should obviously go to EEVFAM and members of the Human Rights Alert (HRA), who have managed to wake up the sensibilities of many not only across the country but also world wide. Only right then that even as the Court has cracked the whip and put a check on the nocturnal activities of those who are there to protect the civilians, the contributions and roles of the people behind the case should be acknowledged. The last word is yet to be said and the case is still going on, with the CBI/SIT meticulously building up cases but significant to note that the stories of the past, ‘So and so fired on a patrol team and they were killed in retaliatory firing’ etc seem to have become part of history. Let the wheel of justice roll and let justice be delivered to all those who have been wronged and at the same time acknowledge the work of the men and women who took the case to the Supreme Court. This would be in the fitness of things.

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