Newmai News Network | Imphal | April 14
Heads of state human rights institutions, human rights activists, senior academics, victims and other stakeholders strongly emphasized the need for a transitional justice process in Manipur to address the “pressing needs” of widows, children and other family members affected by the extrajudicial killings and other serious human rights violations in Manipur over the past several decades.
According to a joint press release by Human Rights Alert (HRA), Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association, Manipur (EEVFAM), Centre for Human Rights Studies, OP Jindal Global University (JGU) and Centre for Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (Manipur University), towards this end, the immediate need for the establishment of a “truth commission,” payment of compensation to victims, strengthening justice institutions including the State human rights institutions, expedite criminal cases lodged against the perpetrators and ensure accountability and uphold rule of law.
According to the press note of the four organizations, these unanimous recommendations emerged at the end of a one-day consultation on Application of Transitional Justice Framework for the Families of Victims of Extrajudicial Execution in Manipur that was organized by these organizations at the Manipur University Court Room on April 13.
Participating in this consultation, the Acting Chairperson of Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC), Chairperson of Manipur State Commission for Women and Chairperson of Manipur State Commission for Protection of Child Rights assured the support of their respective institutions in seeking justice for these victims, the press release stated.
Babloo Loitongbam, executive director of HRA, pointed out the limitations of the on-going investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators to address the pressing justice needs of the families of more than 1528 victims.
“Transitional Justice (TJ) framework – defined by the UN as the full range of processes and mechanisms associated with a society’s attempt to come to terms with a legacy of large-scale past abuses, in order to ensure accountability, serve justice and achieve reconciliation, needs to be invoked in Manipur today,” he asserted. In that spirit Babloo called upon the meeting to deliberate if it is time for Manipur to establish a Truth Commission.
Professor YSR Murthy, executive director of the Centre for Human Rights Studies of JGU, emphasized on the close relationship between Peace, Justice and Human Rights, stressing on the need to initiate TJ processes in Manipur.
Khaidem Mani, Acting Chairperson of MHRC, encouraged the families of victims left out from the CBI/SIT investigation to petition the State under section 357A of Criminal Procedure Code for compensation and to approach MHRC if they failed to get the remedy. He also expressed the Commission’s willingness to function as the Truth Commission if such a mandate is granted by the Supreme Court or the State Government.
During a panel discussion, RK Bobichand, Director of Change and Peace building Action, opined that it is unrealistic to expect the Government of India to constitute a Truth Commission for Manipur. Instead, he suggested that a direction from the SC, alternately a civil society process, is more realistic.
Deben Bachaspatimayum of the North East Institute of Social Science and Research, Nagaland, opined that the TJ process can be achieved either through judicial process, political demand or social movement. Malem Mangal of North East Hill University pointed out the need to include all the vicitms of ongoing armed conflict in Manipur and also address the underlying root causes rather than confining the scope to only the victims of extrajudicial execution.
Prof. Lokendra Arambam stated that there are different kinds of truths –‘forensic truth’ or the ‘personal narratives’, ‘dialogic truth’ or the ‘final truth’ etc. “But what we should be seeking ultimately,” he concluded, “is the healing and restorative truth.”