Reopening Pandora’s Box?

            WITH the District & Sessions Judge, Imphal West allowing a plea by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Imphal branch to launch fresh probe into the killing of Chungkham Sanjit Singh of Khurai Sajor Leikai, a surrendered member of an insurgent group, in firing by police commandos on July 23, 2009, it must have given a great sense of relief to mother of the slain youth. The firing incident in broad daylight at the crowded Khwairamband Keithel, which also claimed the life of a young housewife in advance stage of pregnancy and left five others injured, had sparked a major controversy with various civil society organisations and rights activists alleging that the killings were stage managed by the state security forces. Though earlier appeals by Sanjit’s mother Taratombi for re-opening the case did not yield any positive result, it seems her emotionally charged persistence to involve top sleuths of the premier probe agency has paid off finally, in case one takes note of the fact that an eight-member CBI team from its national capital headquarters are already in town. Another important aspect of the court finally approving the prayer for re-investigation might be based on the distraught mother’s reference to the startling revelation made by suspended police head constable Th Herojit, who confessed through the media in February, 2016 that he gunned down an unarmed Sanjit after the latter was already in police grip.

            For the record, Herojit had also disclosed that the youth was slain following instructions from his superior officers. Subsequent to his revelation, Taratombi wrote to the CBI New Delhi authorities on December 28, 2016 for reinvestigating the case as is mandatory under the law of the land. Though the court directed for fresh investigation on the basis of the CBI acknowledging her plea, which is centred on Herojit’s expose speculation is also rife that with the help of some rights activists she is in possession of some more evidences that could ultimately nail the guilty ones and deliver justice to her son. Taratombi appealing for re-investigation could also be on the premise that the pace and progress of the case is far from being satisfactory. In view of the court of law conducting series of hearings and examining a number of witnesses ever since the CBI, Imphal Branch was entrusted to probe into the firing incident after the case was handed over to the premier investigating agency by the state government in 2010, it remains to be seen at what speed the fresh probe would proceed under the supervision of the sleuths from New Delhi. As the court approval has come amid hectic campaigning for the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election it would be interesting to watch whether or not the latest development on the BT Road firing incident will have any implications to the Congress party which is aiming to retain power as well as to those parties, BJP in particular, that are determined to replace the incumbent government.

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