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Skulls haunt Manipur government

FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

IMPHAL, January 2: At least 40 civil organisations in Manipur have joined hands to enforce the ban on diggings at the compound of Tombisa High School located in Imphal. The government had virtually closed down the school. Instead, a shopping mall, meant to assist women vendors, is under construction there.

On December 25 and 26, the workers found eight skulls and other skeletons. Many sections fear that these must belong to persons who are missing after being arrested by security forces. Though the security forces maintained that they were released since they could not be implicated in any crime, the released persons were never seen. What is more fearsome is that some bangles were found near the skeletons which mean that some of them were women.

It may be recalled that every year there are reports of missing girls and women. The organisations have banned all construction works and are demanding a high level inquiry by a commission to be headed by a retired judge.

It may be recalled that two organizations – one a civil group and other the Families of Involuntarily Disappeared Association Manipur (FIDAM) – had filed a PIL with the Manipur high court for restraining the government from further construction works. People fear that there may be more skeletons in the compound. There had been camps of CRPF, BSF and police commandos there. The organisations are saying that during the pendency of inquiry, the skeletons should be kept in the custody of FIDAM. Home minister Gaikhangam Gangmei says that the government will initiate proper investigation and the government had already decided to hand over the case to the CBI.

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Ankur Kalita

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