Geneva, July 4 (IANS) Two UN rights experts have urged Indian authorities to complete investigations into alleged killings by security forces in Manipur, after “officials failed to meet a deadline set by the Supreme Court” for inquiries into the cases.
“We are extremely concerned that the delay appears to be deliberate, undue and unreasonable, and we condemn this lack of progress,” said experts – Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, according to a statement issued by United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR).
It said that in 2012, civil society groups submitted more than 1,500 cases of alleged extrajudicial killings in Manipur to the Supreme Court of India.
“In many of the cases, the deaths had been registered by the police as due to exchange of fire between security forces and armed groups or individuals. However, the families alleged the cases were ‘fake encounters’ and the individuals had been intentionally killed.”
Noting that in 2013, a Commission appointed by the Supreme Court examined six cases selected at random and found in all cases that the conclusions of the security forces were not genuine, and that none of the individuals killed had established criminal record, it said that the court then asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct investigations into a number of other cases.
“The Supreme Court has since set three deadlines for investigations into a number of cases to be completed, and three times these deadlines have not been met.
“Some of these families have been waiting decades for these cases to be fully investigated. It is unacceptable that the CBI is failing to meet these deadlines and appears to lack good faith,” they added.
They also expressed concern that the court orders applied only to a small number of cases, and “it was unclear when investigations would be conducted into the remaining cases which run into the hundreds”.
The experts also expressed serious concerns about information that “human rights defenders associated with the cases had faced harassment by the authorities and had even been attacked by unknown individuals.”
The statement said that the experts have written to the Indian government to express their concerns and request further information, “but have yet to receive a response”.