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NHRC urged to probe into recovery of skulls

By Sobhapati Samom

IMPHAL, Jan 11 � National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has been urged to institute a Special Commission of medico-legal-forensic-archaeological inquiry, comprising experts by human rights organisations, representatives of victim families and others to investigate recovery of human skulls in Imphal on December 25 last year.

A petition has been jointly filed with NHRC by Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and UN (CSCHR) and Families of the Disappeared�s Association Manipur (FIDAM) in this regard on January 9.

Eight human skulls, bones, bangles, finger ring, etc., were discovered while labourers were levelling earth at Civil Secretariat in Mantripukhri on December 25 and 26 last.

The petition has been reportedly initiated in view of the alleged non-issuance of any formal notification of the Cabinet decision nor had the State Government informed the CBI or Government of India even after nine days of the Cabinet decision to hand over the case to CBI, according to a press release issued by Dr Laiphungbam D Roy of CSCHR.

It may be mentioned that the State Cabinet had decided to hand over the case to CBI on December 29 last year.

CSCHR has also issued an appeal to the UN working group on Enforced & Involuntary Disappearance to investigate the matter carefully.

CSCHR and FIDAM have also demanded prosecution of the Indian Army personnel involved in enforced disappearances in Manipur.

It is also said that the Manipur University Anthropology department preliminary estimation of the skeletal remains to be of between 17 and 40 years coincide with the high period of enforced disappearances in Manipur from 1980s till 2000s.

�This has raised suspicion that the skeletal remains were of their loved ones whose bodies were never recovered. At least 21 cases of enforced disappearances during 1980-2011 were recorded by human rights organisations.

Convenor of the CSCHR in a release said the Government of India promptly ratify the International Convention of Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances (CED), which India has already signed on February 6, 2007 and as recommended by the working group on UPR of the UN Human Rights Council.

The release further demanded repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 in accordance with the recommendations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 2007, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, UN Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, etc.

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