Setting down Jan 31 deadline SC cracking the whip

Lodge 30 more FIRs on or before January 31. This was the Supreme Court of India to CBI’s SIT and obviously the apex Court is not at all happy with the failure of the SIT to register the required number of FIRs. This is not all, for the Supreme Court too has directed the probe team to complete the investigation into 12 cases lodged by them by February 28 and file the final reports before the Court concerned. The question why all the FIRs have not been registered yet despite its July 14 order last year must have surely left the SIT in an uncomfortable position, and this reflects the seriousness with which the Supreme Court has taken the PIL seeking a probe into 1528 alleged cases of extra-judicial killings. The latest order from the Supreme Court must have left not only the CBI’s SIT uncomfortably placed, but surely this must have sent ripples in the State police set up, the Army and the Assam Rifles. The final word is yet to be said but as observed many times in this column the very fact that the Supreme Court has taken serious note of the many cases of alleged extra-judicial killings in the State is testimony of how some sort of a killing machine has been groomed and made to kill systematically. Those in the newspapers will recall how news of shoot outs late in the evening continued to be staple diets for years, that is until the Supreme Court appointed the Santosh Hegde Commission in 2013 to probe six cases of alleged extra-judicial killings and that set the ball rolling for the case that is going on at the Supreme Court. The six cases were randomly picked and significant to note that one of the victims was a 12 year old boy.
If the proceedings at the Supreme Court have been making it to the news for all the right reasons, at least to the people of Manipur, then the revelations of former Head Constable Thounaojam Herojit that he shot dead Chungkham Sanjit on the instructions of his superior officer in the infamous BT Road incident of July 23, 2009 has opened a worm can, giving more weight to the argument that there are killing machines which have been groomed by the higher officers. All will still remember the days of protest that followed after Tehelka came out with its series of damning photos which showed Sanjit being accosted alive, pushed inside a pharmacy at BT Road and his dead body being brought out with the police coming out with the fantastic tale of how Sanjit had been killed in a shoot out. The written submission by the Asian Human Rights Commission to the State DGP LM Khaute to provide the needed security to Herojit should also underline the threat perception felt by the former police commando who has already approached the Supreme Court stating that he can contribute his mite in the ongoing case. Let the FIRs be lodged, let the Supreme Court proceed with its hearings and hopefully nail all those responsible for literally turning Manipur into a killing field.

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