Probe for 30 days; job promise Applying first balm
Case handed over to the National Investigative Agency (NIA). State Govern- ment to form a probe panel to inquire into the facts and circumstances leading to the death of Athuan Abonmai on September 22 and to fix responsibility. The probe panel to be headed by an officer not below the rank of an Additional Chief Secretary of the Government of Manipur and the report to be submitted within 90 days. The probe panel constituted by the State Government will run independent of the investigation to be conducted by the NIA. A compensation of Rs 10 lakh to be paid to the next of kins of the late Athuan Abonmai and his son to be appointed as a Sub-Inspector in the State police force. The JAC Against the Brutal Murder of Athuan Abonmai to suspend its stir in reciprocation. This in brief are the points of agreement that have been reached and this is where it needs to be acknowledged that the State Government has acted swiftly taking into account the brutality of the crime and the senses of the people. It also remains that the compensation of Rs 10 lakh and the appointment of the late man’s son to the post of SI in the Police Department is not the be all and end all of the case. This line is needed, especially for those who are wont to jump the gun and ask whether the case has been settled with the offer of a Government job and a sum of Rs 10 lakh. Lest one forgets, there is the probe panel to inquire the case and submit a report within 3 months. At least this is what the State Government has assured and one hopes the case is taken to its logical conclusion. It should also not be forgotten that the NIA has been asked to investigate the case and so in effect it means that two probes will be conducted simultaneously.
On the other hand it stands that all assurances of the Government cannot be taken at face value. The three months window period which the State Government has sought and which the JAC Against the Brutal Murder of Athuan Abonmai has agreed to should ideally be taken to give time to Imphal to pursue the case diligently with the Centre, for the simple fact that the involvement of a third party with which New Delhi is in touch with cannot be written off that easily. There must be reasons why the Congress Government during its 15 long years in power here at Imphal was not able to do anything concrete to clear the ‘Taken Note’ of camps of the group to which all fingers of suspicion have been pointed to. No reason to believe that the same compelling reason would have eased by now. This is a fact and one only hopes that the BJP led Government at Imphal is sincere, honest and bold enough to admit this to the public. The first antidote has been applied to ease the pain of the bereaved family and only time can tell whether further actions would be taken up to also soothe the hurt sensibilities of the JAC and the public at large.