Trigger happy SFs should face consequences: Colin Gonsalves

STAFF REPORTER IMPHAL, 5th May: 
Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association (EEVFAM) in collaboration with Human Rights Alert (HRA) organised a solidarity meeting on “The Struggle for Justice by The Victim's Families of Extrajudicial Execution” at GM hall here Saturday.
Speaking as chief guest of the meeting, EEVFAM Counsel and senior advocate of Supreme Court Colin Gonsalves observed that no one, whether in uniform or not, has the right to kill someone. The decision to punish the killer is the duty of the Court. If police, army or person in power murder someone in cold blood then they should be put to trial and punished, he added.
Maintaining that the people are not against the army and wholeheartedly welcome the initiatives taken up by the army for the welfare of the state, Colin contended that if the forces commit crimes then they should be held accountable for their actions.
He said that when family members of the victims gave their testimonies, their truthfulness can be seen but when it comes to the testimonies of security forces, it is easy to see that they are lying through their teeth. The senior advocate conveyed that he had taken up EEVFAM’s case after being inspired by the sincerity of the testimonies of victims’ family members.
Although the apex court had handed over the extrajudicial killing cases to the CBI, the case proceedings is being carried out in a slow pace as CBI is under the central government. As such, the court had order the agency to speed up its procedures. Thus, it would be possible to see a whole new direction in the case within 1-2 months, Colin said.
He then urged EEVFAM and the people to take up steps to ensure the success of the case.
HRA executive director Babloo Loitongbam said that as per the order of the Supreme Court to file FIRs with regard to the extrajudicial killing case, Manipur Police had registered FIRs naming the victims as members of UG outfits and also named the officers of police/army/force concerned that carried out the killings.
However, when the apex court issued a directive stating that the FIRs were to be filed against the persons responsible for the killings and not the victims, the persons involved in the crimes were named as ‘unknown’, Babloo added.
The Court then said that the culprits cannot be named as ‘unknown’ and ordered for the full credentials of the persons who have been recognised as guilty by the Court and the National Human Rights Commission, he conveyed. He then maintained that such attempts to cover-up killings is the reason why innocent people continue to be executed in this society and asserted that all must push for setting up measures/steps that will prevent repetition of such cases in the future.
Meanwhile, EEVFAM secretary Edina Yaikhom said that the struggle for justice in extrajudicial killings that began in 2009 has now reached a pivotal stage. The solidarity meeting was organised to discuss steps that can be taken for ensuring the success of the case with the victims’ family members, she stated.
Noting that the progress of the cases handed over to CBI by the Supreme Court is painstakingly slow, she, however, hoped that the investigation by CBI will give positive results. She further lauded EEVFAM counsel Colin Gonsalves for taking up the case of the victims’ families without charging any fee.
The meeting was also attended by senior advocate of Manipur High Court Khaidem Mani as guest of honour along with family members of victims of extrajudicial killings who shared their opinions on the current status of the case.


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