A Manipuri group, at the forefront in the fight against AFSPA, today sought support from students, academics and human rights groups in getting justice for the families of victims of alleged fake encounters in the state.
At an event at the Delhi University, the activists of the Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Association (EJEVFA), a group comprising victims of alleged fake encounters, said the gains made over the years through judicial interventions should not be diluted.
"Why instead of imprisoning them (the accused), we are being discouraged to not take up the cases," Renu, whose husband was allegedly killed by security forces, wondered.
"It took years and a lot of effort to make families register cases and become witnesses to the injustice. We will get justice only if our activism goes beyond time, space, geography and gender," she said.
"We have grown up seeing six-seven people getting killed every time there was a combing operation. Not all of them were suspected militants," said 37-year-old widow Edeena, whose husband was allegedly killed by the forces in 2008.
The interaction in the national capital came against the backdrop of a three-day-long hearing in the Supreme Court in which Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi argued that the Army cannot be subjected to FIRs for carrying out anti-militancy operations in insurgency-prone areas like Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur.
However, the SC rapped the Army asking why it maintained silence over allegations of rape and murder against its personnel in Manipur and questioned the state government for not proceeding with these cases against them.
In July last year, the apex court had directed a thorough probe into the alleged fake encounter killings saying the use of "excessive or retaliatory force" by the armed forces or police was not permissible in 'disturbed areas' under the controversial Armed Force Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
The Centre, however, filed a curative petition on April 12 seeking recall of the verdict saying that it had "negated" the protection available to the armed forces under the AFSPA during anti-militancy operations.