Manipur extrajudicial killings campaign calls upon Rajnath to safeguard activists

Image for representational purposes (Courtesy: Amnesty International India)

Imphal (IANS): Over a thousand Indians on Sunday called upon Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh to end harassment and attacks on activists and human right defenders who highlighted alleged extrajudicial executions in the state, rights watchdog Amnesty International India said.

On June 11, a petition was launched by Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association Manipur (EEVFAM), which also commenced the global “BRAVE” campaign” demanding that there must be no attacks on human rights activists, said an Amnesty International India release.

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It also sought that the government ensure all complaints of intimidation and attacks against these activists are investigated in a timely, independent and impartial manner, it added.

With the Supreme Court in July 2017 ordering the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to investigate over 90 alleged extrajudicial executions in Manipur, EEVFAM President Renu Takhellambam said: “The campaign assumes crucial importance now that the Supreme Court ordered CBI investigation is underway.”

“The heat is being turned up against officials who have allegedly been involved in extrajudicial executions in Manipur. Due to this, we believe, human rights defenders are being harassed, attacked, threatened and intimidated,” she added.

Over the last one week, Amnesty International India, EEVFAM and local NGO Human Rights Alert have been spreading awareness and mobilising support at the community level for human rights activists under attack.

To rally support, of numbers of extrajudicial killings, the campaign had been conducted community-level meetings in Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur and Thoubal districts.

On June 16, women from the local Ima market formed a human chain in the heart of the city, which stretched from the market to the pharmacy where the alleged extrajudicial execution of Sanjit Meitei took place on July 23, 2009.

“Despite the rain and the ongoing flood alert, people have come out in large numbers… This outpouring of support for EEVFAM members who are seeking justice for the loss of their loved ones in alleged extrajudicial executions highlights the profound connect of the campaign with the people of Manipur,” said Arijit Sen, Programme Manager, Amnesty International India.

He added that violence has dominated the lives of the people of Manipur for years and the aim of campaign is to turn the spotlight on the shrinking space for civil liberties and ensure human rights defenders have a safe and enabling environment for their work.