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Ban on construction works at skull recovery site

FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

 IMPHAL,  December 31 : All sections of people have appreciated the way the All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) has imposed a ban on all construction works at the erstwhile Tombisa higher secondary school in the heart of Imphal town.

The Manipur government continued with the construction works notwithstanding the fact that one PIL had been filed and there are growing demands to suspend the works.  It was feared that the workers will find more skulls and under instructions from the higher ups these may be secreted away for destruction.

It is generally assumed that the skulls and other skeletons are those of missing persons. Security forces had arrested several persons at random and at least 17 of them were known to have been missing notwithstanding the stand that they were released. There are many more unreported missing persons since it was not known whether they had been picked up by the security forces. Most of the cases are being heard by the Supreme Court.

The apex court had ordered payment of fincial solatiums to the widows for the mental torture they underwent. Lower courts were also instructed to make further inquiries assuming that they had met with untural deaths. The investigations are still inconclusive even after so many years.

A human rights group and families of the missing persons had filed the PIL urging the Manipur High Court to restrain the State government from further construction works. But ignoring these moves and the sentiment of the people, the government carried on with the construction works.

At this juncture, the AMSU has declared a ban on the construction works with immediate effect.

Graffiti had appeared in the nearby walls for the knowledge of the workers. There is no immediate comment from the government and the deputy chief minister Gaikhangam Gangmei.

He has been assuring that the government will unearth the mystery but at the same time he has said nothing on the construction works. Police and security force officials, both serving and retired, may be having sleepless nights since the skulls will be forced to speak out may horrendous truths.

Gangmei is also trying to mislead the people saying that these skulls may be those of the unclaimed bodies since once a morgue was located there. In those days, when there was very little law and order problem and extra judicial killings, there was no case of unclaimed bodies. Besides the people were Hindus by religion in the valley areas. In other words, if there was an unclaimed body, it was cremated. This is done even today. The government has decided to hand over the case to CBI since people did not give much importance to the police investigations. The investigation results will take some time.

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Ankur Kalita

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