CHUNGKHAM TARATOMBI Devi’s fight for justice has yielded results. Fourteen months after her son Chungkham Sanjit Singh Meitei was killed in a fake encounter by Manipur Police, the CBI has filed a chargesheet against nine of the 14 accused policemen. Exposés in TEHELKA by Teresa Rehman (Murder in Plain Sight, 8 August 2009) and Shoma Chaudhury (Life in a Shadow Land, 15 August 2009) had detailed the coldblooded murder. Photographs published along with the story revealed the entire sequence of Sanjit’s death.
The chargesheet filed by the CBI on 9 September this year in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal, corroborates TEHELKA’s findings. It reveals how, on 23 July 2009, commandos led by then Imphal City Police Station in-charge Munal Singh picked up Sanjit from BT Road, took him inside the storeroom of a pharmacy and shot him dead. The CBI also found out that the 9 mm Mauser gun found on Sanjit was planted by the police.
That day, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh told the Manipur Assembly that Sanjit was a People’s Liberation Army militant and was responsible for shooting six civilians. (The PLA is the armed wing of the Revolutionary People’s Front). The CBI now reveals that it was the police that was involved in the random shooting on BT Road that killed a pregnant woman, Rabina Devi. Sanjit was just a bystander who was made the scapegoat.
On 25 August 2009, Sanjit’s mother approached the Gauhati High Court seeking justice. The court handed over the case to the CBI. Two days later, the Manipur government instituted a one-man commission of inquiry led by Justice PG Agarwal, a retired judge of the Gauhati High Court. Both TEHELKA’s Managing Editor Shoma and then Northeast Correspondent Teresa deposed before the commission and were interrogated by the CBI. Photographs in TEHELKA’S possession were shared with the probe team.