New Delhi: The Manipur government was on Friday pulled up by the Supreme Court for asking it not to take up a plea related to the alleged extra-judicial killings in the state as the National Human Rights Commission is examining those cases.
"You are trying to use NHRC as alibi," said a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai.
It expressed displeasure over the contentions of state which virtually tried to justify harsh measures taken by it in view of militancy in the state.
"Is it a war going on? Are they engaged in war? Your men killing theirs and their men killing yours? Is this the orientation of the state?," the bench asked.
The state government in its affidavit had said that thirty extremist organisations are operating in the state and are indulging in violent activities including the killings of civilians and security personnel.
"There are 30 extremist organisations in the state out of which six are very powerful and they are heavily armed with sophisticated weapons like AK-47, AK-56, rocket launchers etc. Their aim and object is to form an independent Manipur by secession from India. They have been indulging in violent activities including killing of civilians and security force personnel and law abiding citizens of Manipur to achieve their objective," the affidavit said.
"That the unlawful activities of these organisation include involvement in killings of 1579 persons, including those from security forces in last ten years," the affidavit said.
The government said during the last thirty years, a large number of FIRs, numbering about 1,39,012 have been registered in respect of offences committed by the members of these organisations but police has been able to complete the probe into only a few hundred cases.
While pleading with the court not to intervene in those cases, the state said the NHRC is looking into those cases.
"It is respectfully submitted that this court may be required to intervene in the matter only if it is of the view that the NHRC has failed to perform its statutory functions which are to safeguard vital fundamental rights. The state respectfully reiterates that the NHRC is performing its functions and the occasion for this court to intervene has not arisen," the bench said.
"NHRC has, on receiving complaints, sought reports on each of the said ten cases from the state of Manipur. The state has furnished its report to the NHRC in all these cases. In none of these cases has there been a finding recorded by the NHRC of violation of human rights," the affidavit said.
The apex court had earlier issued notices to the Centre and the state government on a plea for an independent probe into around 1,500 such cases.
The court`s order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition by an association of the families of the alleged victims, pleading with the apex court to set up a special investigation team and direct inquiry into all such cases.
The association said in all, over 2,000 odd extra-judicial killings have taken place in the state, but no one has been held guilty till date.