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    Court orders Rs 5 lakh as compensation to kin of 18-year-old killed in fake encounter by army

    Image for representational purposes
    Date : 23/02/2017

    Mr. Guangbi Dangmei Versus Union of India through the Defence Secretary, Ministry of Defence and 4 others ( WP(C) No 943 of 2014) High Court of Manipur, India

    Synopsis
    This is a Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for issuance of a Writ in the nature of Mandamus or any other appropriate Writ, directing the Respondents to pay a sum of Rs. 20,00,000/- (Rupees twenty lakhs) as compensation to the Petitioner, for the unjustified/ fake encounter of his son Guangsingam Dangmei, an 18 year old who was killed on his way home by the personnel of 10th Assam Rifles on 30th Dec 2012.
    The victim was studying in class VIII in the year 2009 from Tentmakers Academy, Noney and was helping his parents as a quarry labourer at the Noney Bazaar from Ijei River earning a little more than Rs 600/- was killed one night while taking a stroll with a friend in Noney Bazaar.
    The deliverance of Justice to the family of the deceased took 5 years as the killing of Guangingam was accused to be a militant by the Army personnel. The Petitioner pray for seeking compensation on the account of the death of his son, Guangsingam Dangmei caused by the personnel of 10th Assam Rifles in a fake/ fictitious encounter.
    Status:
    The respondents have made submissions giving a counter reply that the boy was killed due to the counter firing in an ambush and was found with arms and ammunition on the crime spot. However, the High court after proper investigation and thorough cross examinations of facts from witnesses concluded that the boy was not killed in an ambush but was killed on the ill-fated night after he was picked-up by the 10th Assam Rifles. Consequently, High court declared the death of D. Gongsingam as a result of fake/fictitious encounter and directed a sum of Rs. 5 lacs as compensation to the father of the deceased within a period of three months.

    Background Description

    On 30th December 2012, the Petitioner’s son Guangsingam Dangmei, a 18 year old boy and his friend went for a stroll around Noney bazaar, Tamenglong District, Manipur in a festive mood of New Year and on their return home around 9.30 pm, the 10th Assam Rifles personnel picked up the two boys and pushed them into the Gypsy vehicle. They were blind-folded and were driven to an unknown direction. On the removal of their blind-fold, they were separated from each other. Guangsingam’s friend was beaten severely and was released after which he went home and informed the others about the abduction by the army personnel. Following the news, the father i.e. the Petitioner along with local bodies went to release his son from the Army camp. He was informed that his son was dead and the body would be brought to him at 2.00pm.
    To the utter shock on receiving the dead body of his son, the Commandant of the 10 Assam Rifle called the Petitioner into his office and told: “ Humme mardiya tumhare batchako” (We have killed your son). Then the shattered father lodged a written report to the officer-in-charge, Noney Police Station stating of the abduction of the two boys and unjustified killing, yet he was informed that his son was killed in an encounter in an ambush by the personnel of 10th Assam Rifles.
    The incident of killing the Petitioner’s son by the personnel of 10th Assam rifles in a very unjustifiable manner has moved the sentiment of the local populace. The petitioner took an initiative and the Ziliangrong Students Union Manipur (ZSUM) submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister on 2nd January 2013 making a Demand for institution of a Judicial Enquiry into the fake encounter/ extra judicial killing of the Deceased. The memorandum consist of agreements on necessary actions to be taken per law against the persons responsible and demand compensation be provided to the deceased family. The ZSUM also agreed to take back the dead body and withdraw the bandh in Tamenglong District which was demonstrated in protest. Despite all the efforts taken up, till date, no report has been given by the District Magistrate, Tamenglong in connection to the magisterial enquiry to be brought to the petitioner, the ZSUM or to the public.
    Then with the initiative of Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), Manipur, a Writ Petition was filed and matter was listed before the court on 28/11/14. Since then, the respondents have given a reply of the death of the Petitioner’s son.
    Response of Respondents 1, 2 and 3 – The Union of India through the Defence Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Govt of India (ii) The Commanding Officer, 10 Assam Rifles, (iii) The State of Manipur through the Principal Secretary : It has been submitted by Respondents 1, 2 and 3 that “their killing of the petitioner’s son is justified in as he is known to be and proved beyond doubt that he was a militant who in fact was a Self Style Corporal, Guangsinlung Dangmei of Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) who joined NSCN (IM).” It was added that he was trained at Buning Camp and also had an unlawful involvement in kidnapping of a Railway Company employee for extortion.
    The respondents argued that the Petitioner’s son was never arrested/ abducted nor did they take any individual separately for any firing or that of the release of the victim’s friend from their custody but that the petitioner’s son died at an encounter in a cross firing, an attack which was carried out as they were informed by true and reliable intelligence of an ambush. The respondents resorted to firing back as there were small open firings by unknown armed militants and eventually which led to the recovery of the dead body of the petitioner’s son from the premises of shoot-out. The counter affidavit also stated that “hence, the claim for compensation of Rs 20,00,000/- by the petitioner under a Writ shall never be considered and that the killing of the petitioner’s son can be justified as he is proved beyond doubt that he was a militant who was killed in an encounter”. The counter reply concluded that the accusations to the respondents were false and baseless as “that there is no violation of any provision of law in the killing of the petitioner’s son in an encounter who is a militant.”
    Enquiry Report:
    On the initiation of enquiry report of the facts leading to the death of the Petitioner’s son, issues were framed to ascertain if Guangsingam Dangmei was killed by the 10th Assam Rifles or was he killed in an encounter with the personnel of 10th Assam Rifles. This enquiry report was examined by M. Manojkumar Singh, District Judge, Imphal West.
    In order to prove the Petitioner’s case, the judge examined 6(six) witnesses and 10 documents including the post mortem report. The Judge also examined the answering respondents of 4 (four) witnesses. After the thorough cross-examination of the facts presented from each party, the District Judge stated that in the light of the foregoing observation, he found the testimonies of the Petitioner’s Witnesses more convincing and trustworthy than that of Respondent’s witnesses and as a result,concluded that the death of the Petitioner’s son i.e. Late Guangsingam Dangmei who arrested along with his friend from the road by the personnel of 10th Assam Rifles was without any charge and was killed in a fake/ fictitious encounter.
    Proceedings of the Judgement
    After the examination of testimonies from both the Respondent Witnesses (RWs) and Petitioner Witnesses (PWs) and also as per the judgement of the Learned District & Sessions Judge, the High Court of Manipur analysed the facts and testimonies given from both PWs and RWs and have concluded that the justification given by RWs was not sufficient to support the case and circumstance leading to the killing of the deceased. As per the night of the RWs, the miscreants resorted to firing and thereupon personnel of Assam Rifles also resorted to cross firing. And when the day broke out, they recovered the dead body lying there along with arms and ammunition. If such thing would have happened in that fashion, the natural conduct on the part of the Assam Rifles would have been there to inform the police immediately where police would have come to the place of occurrence and held inquest on the dead body and made seizure of the incriminating articles. Instead of it, they had brought the dead body to the camp and have not stated under what circumstances of the dead body was brought to the camp by Assam Rifles.
    The case of the petitioner further gets strengthened from the medical evidence whereby Doctor has found multiple abrasions apart from the gun-shot injuries. After receiving gunshot injuries, the deceased would have fallen on the ground and would have received the injuries. But, in that case, it is not expected that the person would be receiving multiple abrasions.
    Further, the judgement showed that the version of the respondent’s witnesses created suspicion as they have mentioned that they have receive secret information that 2/3 armed persons would be attacking NHPC and in such situation, natural conduct would have been to inform the security personnel posted at NHPC which they have admitted that there are adequate security forces. Hence, the High Court of Manipur declared the killing as unconstitutional from the aforesaid circumstances, prima facie; go to establish the fact of the deceased being killed in a fake/fictitious encounter.

    LIST OF DATES AND EVENTS

    Date
    Events

    30-12-2012
    The Petitioner’s son had gone out with his friend Nanao Singh at around 10:15 p.m. and they were roaming around at the Noney Bazar.

    The Petitioner’s son and his friend, Nanao Singh were picked up by personnel of the 10 Assam Rifles near St. Joseph School at Khumji Village and taken to the camp of 10 Assam Rifles.

    Mr. Nanao Singh was released upon reaching the 10 Assam Rifles Camp but the son of the petitioner was killed in a fake encounter after taking him in a secluded area.
    31-12-2012
    Nanao Singh informed the Petitioner about the incident that happened last night before.

    The petitioner contacted the Nungba Police Station and a FIR was registered vide FIR No. 1(1) 13 NBA-PS u/s 364/302/34 of IPC and 27 of the Arms Act against the 10 Assam Rifles.
    02-01-2013
    The members of the Zeliangrong Students’ Union Manipur (ZSUM) submitted a Memorandum to the Government of Manipur over the killing of Mr. Guangsingam Dangmei on 30th December 2012 by 10th Assam Rifles thereby demanding justice and reparation.
    03-01-2013
    The Governor of Manipur ordered Magisterial enquiry by Shri C. Arthur, IAS, District Magistrate, Tamenglong District, Manipur into the extra judicial killing of Mr. Guangsingam Dangmei.
    10-01-2013 /
    11-01-2013
    Mr. C. Arthur published an order in the daily newspaper, the Sangai Express dated 11.01.2013 inviting willing/desirous persons to give oral evidence or produce any material evidences before the Enquiry Officer.
    28-11-2014
    Case is filed in the High Court of Manipur seeking appropriate remedy.
    23-02-17
    Case is heard and reserved for final Judgment
    10-03-17
    Case disposed and Judgment passed in favor of the petitioner

    Summary of the Judgement:
    In pursuance of the enquiry of the District Judge, Imphal West had conducted; the High Court of Manipur has examined the case and has declared the death of the deceased as being killed in a fake/ fictitious encounter and thereby a case of unconstitutional deprivation of fundamental right and thereby petitioner would be entitled to a compensation of 5 lacs. Accordingly, the respondents 1 and 3 were directed to pay the above mentioned amount as compensation to the petitioner, the father of the deceased within a period of three months. This judgement of came on 10th March, 2017.
    Further readings:
    Claims and counter-claims – hueiyen lanpao editorial: January 03 2013
    http://epao.net/epSubPageExtractor.asp?src=news_section.editorial.editorial_2013.Claims_and_Counter-claims_HL_20130103
    ZUF cadre killed-Manipur Mail News Dec 31st 2012 http://www.manipur.org/news/2012/12/31/zuf-cadre-killed-2/
    Guangbi dangmei, tamenglong district v/s the union of india through the defence secretary, ministry of defence, new delhi & others, decided on monday, february 27, 2017
    http://www.lawyerservices.in/Guangbi-Dangmei-Tamenglong-District-Versus-The-Union-of-India-through-the-Defence-Secretary-Ministry-of-Defence-New-Delhi-and-Others-2017-02-27

    Guangbi Judgment
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