AFSPA and unsolved massacres in Manipur
Thousands were watching a volley ball match at the Heirangoithong Volley Ball Ground in Imphal. Some extremists tried to snatch weapons from the CRPF personnel there which resulted in the CRPF to resort to firing killing five people. The injured extremists soon fled. The CRPF at the spot then began to shoot indiscriminately at the crowd, and they were joined by another team from the nearby CRPF camp.
Thirteen people were killed and 31 injured in the firing that went on for half an hour. Y Ibotombi Singh, District Judge, was appointed as Enquiry Commissioner vide Manipur Government Notification No 1/1/ (45)/84-H dated June 25, 1984. The Commissioner reported that there was no cross-firing and that two constables fired at the crowd even after the extremists had fled away, killing and wounding them. It was found that the Platoon commander instigated his platoon to fire more instead of controlling the situation. It was also accused that the Platoon commander was little conscious of his responsibility and completely forgot his duty. A compensation of a mere Rs 10,000 each was given to the next of kin of those who were killed and those injured were given Rs 4000.
Operation Blue Bird at Oinam: July 10, 1987: Insurgents raided the Assam Rifles post at Oinam village and looted the armoury. Nine AR personnel were also killed in the attack which triggered the Operation Blue Bird.
Three months saw a reign of terror by the AR in 30 villages there. Fourteen civilians were shot dead and several others died of hunger, starvation and torture in the concentration camps out of the shock of witnessing the torture of their dear ones, etc. In an infamous incident of the operation, a woman was forced to deliver her child in public view in an open field as the troops jeered.
Tera Bazar Massacre: March 25, 1993: Unidentified youth shot at CRPF personnel at Tera Keithel, Imphal which killed 2 CRPF men. Thereafter, the CRPF personnel rushed out and fired indiscriminately. Five civilians were killed and many others received bullet injuries. However, no enquiry has been instituted to date.
RMC Massacre: January 7, 1995: On the morning of January 7, 1995, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) shot dead nine innocent persons at the Regional Medical College (RMC), Imphal, in retaliation to attacks on them by the members of an armed opposition group. The victims were Moni Riba, a student of RMC, Laimayum Pradeep Sharma (Guard), Wangkhem Upendra Singh, driver, Mohammed Jakir, rikshaw puller, and autorikshaws drivers Saikhom Premchand Singh, Hijam Khogen, R K Khogen Singh, Angom Debendra Singh and Koijam Rajendra Singh. Shri.D.M Sen, retired Judge, Calcutta High Court, conducted an inquiry and confirmed the arbitrary and intentional shootings by the CRPF personnel. The enquiry commission found that one member of an insurgent group had fired at the CRPF personnel posted at the RMC’s main gate. He was guarding his colleagues who were injured in Bishenpur district on January 1, 1995. However, the injury of (their colleague), Yadav, provoked the CRPF personnel of the 199th Battalion and they became angry. As soon as the firing took place, the CRPF personnel reportedly shouted ‘hamara admi ko mara, sab Manipuri ko maro’. After killing two medical staffs, the CRPF personnel came near the gate of the RMC and shouted at the rikshaw pullers and started firing at them. A rikshaw puller Mohammed Zakir cried out ‘Allahu akbar’ when injured. One CRPF personnel shouted, ‘kya Allah?’ and shot again. Zakir fell down and died on the spot. Five rickshaw pullers were killed.
Compensation paid by the state to the next kin of those killed was Rs 25,000 and the injured received compensation of Rs. 5, 000. On March 17, 2008, the Adhoc Additional Sessions Judge, Fast Track Court, Guwahati, convicted four CRPF personnel for killing nine civilians. A statement issued by the Central Bureau of Investigation from New Delhi on March 26, 2008, said that the four CRPF personnel were sentenced life terms in an order issued on March 17, 2008, and named the convicted men as Head Constable Ram Dayal Sah, Constables Shiv Kumar Pandey and Puttu Lal and Naik Md Razak. The four were also fined Rs 5000 each, failing which their prison terms would be extended by three more months
Malom Massacre: November 2, 2000: Assam Rifles convoy was attacked near Malom, Manipur by the insurgents. In retaliation, the troops shot at civilians at a nearby bus-stop leaving 10 civilians dead, including a 60 year old woman and a boy who had been awarded the bravery award by the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. A brutal combing operation followed. Irom Sharmila’s fast-to-death began in the aftermath of this incident.
Other massacres in Manipur include: Oinam Leikai Massacre on November 21, 1980, Ukhrul Massacres on May 9, 1995, Bashikhong massacre on February 19, 1995, Churachandpur Massacres on July 21, 1999, Nungleiban Massacre on October 15, 1997, Tabokpikhong Massacres on August 12, 1997, and Tonsen Lamkhai Massacres on September 3, 2000. (TCN)