In a startling admission, an accused Manipur police head constable, who was suspended over the alleged fake encounter of 22-year-old Chungkham Sanjit Meitei in July 2009, has said he had shot the suspected member of the insurgent group People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on the order of his superior officer.
Thounaojam Herojit Singh, 35, a gallantry award recipient, told media persons that he had shot an “unarmed” Sanjit on the order of additional superintendent of police, Imphal west district, Dr AK Jhaljit Singh.
Herojit, who was one of nine accused policemen in the case being probed by the CBI, said he was coming out with the truth now because he was no longer safe. The recent disclosure contradicts the Manipur police’s account of the incident submitted in court and to the CBI.
“Now, it’s clear that he was killed in a fake encounter. So those who were involved in the incident, including the superior officer, should be punished,” said Sanjit’s cousin Chungkham Anandi, 32.
The case was transferred to the CBI in 2010. Sanjit’s mother Chungkham Taratombi, who lodged the FIR, had also petitioned the Gauhati high court in 2009. The incident had caused widespread protests in Manipur after images of Sanjit’s body being carried to a pharmacy were released in the media. Thokchom Rabina, a pregnant woman who was a bystander, also had died in the firing.
Union minister Kiren Rijiju said the Centre has taken “cognisance” of the reports on the purported confession.
“I was a little disturbed to see this news and confession which has been reported. We have taken cognisance of this revelation and necessary steps will be taken,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Jhaljit, who is the current SP of Imphal west district, on Wednesday refuted the charges saying the allegation was “motivated, concocted and baseless,” but refused to comment further on the matter as the case is sub judice.
Regarding future course of action, Human Rights Law Network Manipur director Meihoubam Rakesh said, “When the (CBI) investigates into the disclosure made by the accused, it may submit an additional charge sheet or evidence before the court where trial is going on, then the trial court can take into account the statement or additional disclosure made by the accused.”