INDIA: Manipur police kill another in extra-judicial circumstances


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-029-2010
ISSUES: Administration of justice, Arbitrary arrest & detention, Extrajudicial killings, Military, Police violence, State of emergency & martial law,

Dear friends, 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information concerning the illegal arrest and alleged murder of another person by state police. It is widely suspected that his killing was part of a combined operation between the Manipur State Police Commando Unit and officers of the 21 Assam Rifles (AR). 


On 14 March 2010 at around 9:30pm Mr. Chongtham Nanao (also known as Sanjoy) and his brother-in-law Bobo were confronted by police; they had finished dining together and were walking between their two houses. Two white vehicles carrying members of the Manipur State Police Commando Unit stopped them at the compound gate of Nanao’s house. The officers demanded their identities and asked Bobo whether the person with him was Nanao, but before Bobo could reply the officers seized Nanao and dragged him into their vehicle. 

The officers took the men’s torch and mobile telephones, warned Bobo not to tell anybody that they had taken Nanao, and drove away. 

Back at home Bobo informed his mother and sister about the incident, while Nanao’s family met and consulted with the local village head, Ms. Radhe. She contacted Kakching Police Station over telephone at about 10pm but the staff there denied any knowledge of his arrest. 

The next morning Kakching police informed Radhe that they had recovered a dead body from the location of an alleged shootout between police and armed militants; they invited her to see the corpse. After she had informed Nanao’s relatives they visited the station and were able to positively identify Nanao. 

The local media have claimed that a combined team of Thoubal Police Commandos and 21 Assam Rifles (AR) are involved in the murder. The police meanwhile, allege that Nanao belonged to a prohibited militant organisation, the Kanglei Yaon Kanba Lup (KYKL), and was shot dead in an armed encounter at a place called Nongjubi Hills (under the jurisdiction of Kakching Police Station). The officers further claimed that they recovered a 9mm pistol with three live rounds and a hand grenade from the victim. 

That day a group of civilians formed a Joint Action Committee (JAC) in response to the killing; their protest obstructed local traffic. The JAC has also submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister of Manipur and a written complaint to Superintendent of Police (SP) and the Director General of Police (DGP), demanding an independent inquiry into the incident. 


Extrajudicial execution is at an alarmingly high rate in Manipur. Even though there are no reliable statistics for the exact number of persons killed by the state agencies there, credible government reports suggest that it is very high. In a public statement issued by Mr. Joy Kumar Singh, the Director General of Police in Manipur in November 2009, the officer said that his men had killed at least 260 persons between January and November 2009; he added that those killed were all operatives of underground militant groups. 

The play of events in this case makes for a common pattern, repeated in many incidents reported by the AHRC. In one of the organisation’s first cases reported in July 2003 Manipur state agents, namely those from the Assam Rifles, killed four persons: three boys and a man. The details are available here. Since then the AHRC has documented more than two dozen cases of extrajudicial executions in the state. 

Cases that follow a similar pattern include: 

UA-96-2004: the extrajudicial execution of Ms. Thangjam Manorama reported on 29 July 2004; UA-13-2005: the extrajudicial execution of minor Thokchom Puspa Devi, 11 years old, Mr. Lourembam Maipak, and two other unidentified civilians; UA-052-2006: the extrajudicial execution of Mr. Jangkhotinmang Haokip; UA-289-2006: the extrajudicial execution of Mr. Longjam Surjit; UA-043-2007: the extrajudicial execution of Mr. Henpu Singsit; UA-052-2007: the extrajudicial execution of Mr. Ningthoujam Thokchao; UA-117-2007: the extrajudicial execution of Mr. Sapan Brojen Singh, Mr. Taorem Boba and Mr. H. Thangkhenmung Hangzo; UA-130-2007: the extrajudicial execution of Mr. Laishram Thouba Singh and Mr. Huidrom Arunkumar Singh; UAC-042-2008: the extrajudicial execution of Mr. Mohammad Qudur Ali, Mr. Naorem Boinao, Mr. Santhosh Pradhan, Mr. Khaidem Boker; UAC-073-2008: the extrajudicial execution of Mr. Longjam Uttamkumar Singh; UAC-165-2008: the extrajudicial execution of Mr. Langpoklakpam Bimolchandra; UAC-054-2009: the extrajudicial execution of Mr. Loitongbam Satish Singh; and UAC-063-2009: the extrajudicial execution of Mr. Seram Priyokumar and Mr. Laishram Keshorjit. 

In these cases the officers either arrested the victims from their houses and later killed them, or shot them dead after stopping them for an identity check. In all of them the state has claimed – contrary to strong factual evidence – that the deceased victims were killed in an armed encounter and that they were members of an armed militant group. According to the information available to the AHRC, not a single witness has been examined in any of these cases, and in instances where the witnesses were willing to speak out, they were threatened by officers related to the case. 

In India no state agency has a statutory right to kill persons on mere suspicion, other than for the provisions in the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. Manipur is a state where this draconian law was pressed into use, and the results of it are reflected above. 

National institutions like the National Human Rights Commission and the Supreme Court of India have expressed concern about such arbitrary uses of force. The NHRC has directed that the state governments must file separate reports to the Commission on each case of extrajudicial execution and further the autopsy of the victims video recorded. The NHRC guidelines are available here

Reports also strongly indicate that officers use the threat of extrajudicial execution as a means to extort. In this respect they are operating no differently to many of the militant groups in the state. In the coming days the AHRC will be issuing a Position Paper on extrajudicial executions in India with further analysis of the situation. 

For this case the state must ensure that the statement of the main witness is recorded, at the very minimum, and that the incident is legitimately investigated and the perpetrators punished. 


Please send letters to the authorities below expressing your concern in this case. 

The AHRC is also sending a letter to the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions calling for an intervention in this case. 

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear __________, 

INDIA: The murder of Nanao after illegal arrest by the state police must be investigated 

Name of victim: Chongtham Nanao alias Sanjoy, 21. 
Name of alleged perpetrators: Members of the Thoubal Police Commando Unit and 21 Assam Rifles 

Date of incident: 14 March 2010 
Place of incident: Nongjubi Hill, under the jurisdiction of Kakching Police Station, Manipur, India 

I am writing to voice my concern regarding the murder of Mr. Chongtham Nanao alias Sanjoy. I am informed that officers from Manipur Police Commando Unit took him into custody and later executed him. Nanao’s relative Bobo witnessed his abduction by state agents. 

I am concerned to know that although the local police at Kakching Police Station denied arresting Nanao and all knowledge of his whereabouts on 14 March, the next day they informed his family and friends that he had been killed in an encounter with the police. 

I am reliably informed that a combined team of Thoubal Police Commandos and 21 Assam Rifles (AR) were involved in his murder, and that the police position is that the victim was a member of prohibited militant organisation, the Kanglei Yaon Kanba Lup (KYKL). As in several previous occasions, the police have also claimed that they recovered a 9mm pistol with three live rounds and a hand grenade from the possession of the victim. 

I understand that this is not the first case of extrajudicial execution reported from Manipur by any means, and that in most cases the police are known to have killed the victim after taking them into custody, but later claimed that he or she was killed in an armed encounter. In most cases the arms recovered are a 9mm pistol and or small explosives, such as a grenade. The patterns in police reporting suggest that no serious inquiries are being held into any such cases. I am also informed that in most cases the autopsy of the victim is not recorded on video and that not a single report thus far has been sent to the National Human Rights Commission as required, according to its directives. 

I therefore request that you swiftly proceed with a judicial inquiry into the murder of Chongtham Nanao. Please ensure that statement of the witnesses to the incident are recorded according to procedure, and provided with security. The police officers involved in the murder must be punished and prosecuted. 

Yours sincerely, 



1. Dr. P. Chidambaram 
Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs 
Griha Mantralaya Room 
No. 104, North Block Central Secretariat 
New Delhi 110001 
Fax: +91 11 2301 5750, 2309 3750, 2309 2763 

2. Mr. Okram Ibobi 
Chief Minister & Home Minister of Manipur, 
Chief Minister’s Secretariat, Babupara 
Imphal 795001, Manipur 
Fax: + 91 385 2221817 

3. Chairperson 
National Human Rights Commission of India 
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg 
New Delhi-110001 
Fax: +91 11 23340016 

Thank you. 

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (