September 10, 2004 | Comments Off
In response to the massive protests across Manipur state at the brutal beating and death of a young woman in custody of the Indian Army, the government instituted an inquiry. Last week, the judge heading the inquiry threatened four soldiers with arrest if they did not appear before him. They had refused to cooperate, challenging his jurisdiction over them. A day later, he issued warrants for their arrest.
The Indian Army also offered to conduct DNA tests of the accused:
A spokesman said the move came after forensic tests confirmed traces of human semen on the clothes of the victim whose family say was also raped.
However, it remains to be seen how effective this probe will be. In March 2000, 35 Sikhs were killed in Chattisinghpora village in Kashmir. A few days later police tried to pin the blame on “foreign mercenaries,” killing five people. After Kashmiris demonstrated against these killings, claiming the victims were Kashmiri civilians, the Central Reserve Police Force and Kashmir police fired on the demonstrators, killing nine more civilians. A judicial probe later indicted the CRPF for “excessive firing.” Although the police officers were suspended, the government has not taken any action against the responsible CRPF personnel.
Later DNA tests proved that the five killed were innocent Kashmiri civilians. In July 2003, a ministerial probe found three policemen and two doctors guilty of trying to fudge the civilians’ DNA samples.