“This is simply bizarre, especially because many of the top politicians holding key positions in the present regime were one time civil society leaders at the forefront of the people’s movement to preserve the integrity of Manipur who catapulted themselves to politics!” say EEVFAM and HRA, presenting the report to the public
On the 20th anniversary of the incident popularly known as The Great June Uprising, Unity Day, the Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association, Manipur (EEVFAM) and Human Rights Alert (HRA) presented that report of the Upendra Judicial Commission of Inquiry appointed by the Government of Manipur to probe the incident of June 18, 2001 to the public at large.
On this day, 20 years ago, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) shot down defiant protestors defending the idea of Manipur in the heart of Imphal city, killing fourteen and injuring more than eight hundred. The spontaneous outburst of the people could not be deterred by the brute repression. The stubborn protest persisted, losing four more lives, until the Government of India finally conceded to their demand, on 27 July 2001, and dropped the phrase “without territorial limits” from its ceasefire agreement with the NSCN (I-M).
In order to establish the truth behind the incident, the Government of Manipur (GoM) constituted a Judicial Commission presided by (late) C Upendra Singh, District and Sessions Judge (Retired), vide its notification dated July 14, 2001. After a thorough, open and judicious process, the report was finally submitted to the GOM in January 2002. But it was never placed before the cabinet or the State Assembly as required by the law. Even attempts by curious citizens to obtain a copy of the report through RTI applications were summarily rejected, according to a joint release by EEVFAM and HRA.
More than a decade later, in the course of the proceeding of the Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association, Manipur (EEVFAM) and Human Rights Alert (HRA) PIL, WP (Cril) 129 of 2012, seeking justice in the 1,528 extrajudicial executions, the Supreme Court directed the GoM to submit all the relevant commission of Inquiry reports. This report was one amongst half a dozen others, so submitted. The court handed over a copy of the reports to the petitioners.
“We were delighted to finally see that the Commission categorically concluded:
… it is found that the action of the security forces was made without any justifiable cause or it had exceeded the reasonable limits, the appropriate action should be taken up against the wrong doers and such persons should not be scot free”. (Para 21 at page no. 98 of the Report)
“We were also happy that the Supreme Court ordered, vide order dated 14.07.2017, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate this incident along with 38 others. Accordingly, CBI registered a case of murder against some personnel of 81 and 121 Battalion of CRPF and proceeded with the investigation. But when the CBI submitted its Final Report (FR), dated 13.08.2020, we were deeply disappointed to see their conclusion:
“…sufficient admissible evidence has not come on record during investigation to launch prosecution against the alleged security personnel of CRPF…”
The joint release stated: “We were utterly shocked to find out from the FR that the CBI could not obtain the relevant documents in connection with the incident from GoM. As a matter of fact, the entire case docket pertaining to this incident is stated to be missing from both the police as well as court records.
Outraged by the callous attitude of the concerned officials and being suspicious if this is a deliberate attempt to conceal the critical documents by some unscrupulous elements within the government functionaries, the families of the 14 victims of the June 18 Incident petitioned the Home Department of GoM on December 18, 2020 urging to take action to recover the documents and also to take action against the erring officials.
EEVFAM and HRA said that on such a grave matter of public importance, the government is simply turning a blinds eye without even acknowledging it as an issue.
“This is simply bizarre, especially because many of the top politicians holding key positions in the present regime were one time civil society leaders at the forefront of the people’s movement to preserve the integrity of Manipur who catapulted themselves to politics!”
The joint release also mentioned that anxious by the present perplexing state-of-affairs of the official institutions and driven by the compelling need to preserve the remaining pieces of evidence of this historic event, EEVFAM and HRA are reprinting the Report of Upendra Judicial Commission of Inquiry. By disseminating this report far and wide, we are making a humble attempt to resist the diabolic attempt, if there is any, to distort the truth of this great people’s uprising, it added.