//INDIA: Yet another illegal arrest and disappearance in Manipur(AHRC)

INDIA: Yet another illegal arrest and disappearance in Manipur(AHRC)

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from Human Rights Alert (HRA) concerning the case of arrest and subsequent disappearance of yet another person in Manipur. A team of military officers, suspected to be from the 12 Maratha Light Infantry, took Mr. Longjam Suresh, the victim in the case into custody from his house on 18 February at about midnight. The officers also arrested his neighbour Manglemba on the same night. Manglemba was later released from custody and left blindfolded in the suburbs of Imphal town, the capital city of Manipur. As for Suresh, his family does not know where he is detained, whether he is alive or for what purpose he is arrested. The local police have thus far refused to register complaints filed by the family. Given the widespread and recurring incidents of extrajudicial executions reported in Manipur, the family fears for the victim’s life and is worried why the state government or the police is unwilling to provide any assistance in the case.

CASE NARRATIVE:- A team of military officers in combat uniform, suspected to be from the 12 Maratha Light Infantry, came to Mr. Longjam Suresh’s house at about ten minutes to midnight on 18 February 2011. It is reported that the officers dragged Suresh out from his house. Hearing the scuffle, Suresh’s father woke up. Mr. Mangi Longjam, when he saw the officers dragging his son out demanded to know who the officers were, their identity, why they are taking his son away by force and to where. The officers refused to answer. They took Suresh to a nearby vehicle parked at the main road. It is reported that a passerby has witnessed Suresh sitting inside the vehicle.


It is reported that the officers soon returned, this time to Suresh’s neighbour, Manglemba’s house. This house is only a few yards away from Suresh’s house. The officers also brought Manglemba out of his house and took him also into the vehicle. Manglemba’s cousin, Ritu, witnessed the incident. Both Ritu and Mangi allege that the officers did not inform why they were taking Suresh and Manglemba into custody, where there are taken to and what is the identity of the officers who executed the arrest. They also claim that both detainees were blindfolded immediately upon arrest.


According to the Criminal Procedure Code of India, 1974, the arresting officers are mandated to inform the person arrested, as well a person of choice as instructed by the arrested person, why the arrest is made, where the person will be detained and when he will be produced before a judicial officer and at what time and place. This information legally referred to, as the ‘arrest memo’, has to be in writing, made in duplicate and a copy of the same – after obtaining the signature of the person to whom the memo is served as instructed by the arrestee – has to be retained by the arresting officer. In this case, as it is the case in almost all cases reported from Manipur, such a memo was neither prepared nor served upon the witnesses to the arrest.


On the next day the families of both victims tried to file a complaint at the Wangoi Police Station informing the police about the arrest and seeking their help to find out where the two persons were detained. But the police refused to register a case on the basis of the complaint. Subsequently, the families filed another complaint to the 12 Maratha Light Infantry stationed at Mayang, Imphal Telecom Complex. The army denied any involvement in the incident. The local people formed a committee to help the relatives in the case. They filed a written complaint to the Chief Minister of Manipur, requesting the minister to order the state police to find out where Suresh and Manglemba were detained.


It is reported that on 20 February, at about midnight, Manglemba was left free near the suburbs of Impahl town at a place called Koirengei. Manglemba claims that he was blindfolded and his hand had been tied when the officers let him go. Manglemba later managed to come back home. Manglemba however had no idea that his neighbour was also arrested on the same day and was in the same vehicle in which he was driven away from his home. This is because both Suresh and Manglemba were blindfolded immediately after the arrest.


Suresh’s family is concerned for his life, as it is common in Manipur for persons arrested in similar circumstances to be found dead after a few days