Discovery of human skulls and skeletons FIDAM demands halt to digging school campus

IMPHAL, Dec 27: Suspicious that the skulls and skeletons dug out during excavation of Tombisana HS campus might be of those people who disappeared in the hands of the security forces during the period when ‘enforced dis-appearance’ was endemic in the State, the Families of Invo-luntary Disappeared Asso- ciation, Manipur (FIDAM) has urged the Chief Minister to halt the excavation at the complex and institute a high level commission of enquiry.

skullsOn the basis of initial expert opinion that the skulls and skeletons that were dug out might have been buried for 17 to 40 years, Md Baniyamin, general secretary of FIDAM said that this period roughly coincides with the time when the phenomenon of ‘enforced disappea- rance’ was endemic in Manipur.

Speaking to reporters today at Kwakeithel, Md Baniyamin said that the body has submitted a memorandum to the CM demanding immediate halt to excavation at former Tombisana H/S campus and constitute a high level commission of enquiry to be headed by a retired judge. The probe panel should include experts in various related fields.

FIDAM also demanded systematic excavation inside the premises to collect further evidences.

Several people had involuntarily disappeared during the said period.

Thokchom Loken Singh (1980), M Kaizalal Paite (1994), Kingsutlin Kom (1995), Ng Angpok (1995), NS John (1995), Laishram Bijoykumar (1996), Yum-lembam Sanamacha (1998), Khundrakpam Boyai (1998) and Md Tayab Ali (1999) are among those who disappeared during the said period, according to Md Baniyamin.

The campus was occupied by the BSF, CRPF and Manipur Police for many decades, he said. Other demands of the body included systematic examination of the dug out skulls and skeletal remains and verifying the same with DNA profiling of families whose ‘loved ones’ had disappeared during the period.

FIDAM also demanded that criminal proceeding be initiated in case any foul play is detected.

A team of FIDAM who went to the site this morning was shocked to find that normal digging activity was going on at the site, Baniyamin said.

The team was told by RC Chaterjee, an engineer of Simplex Project Ltd who super- vises the excavation, that normal excavation activity was being undertaken as no order to halt the digging was coming from the higher authority. The official also expressed his inability to halt the digging without orders from the higher authorities.

As such, Md Baniyamin urged the concerned authorities to stop the digging. Headlines

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MPP postulates ‘secret’ killings

IMPHAL, Dec 27: Referring to the discovery of eight human skulls along with a large num-ber of skeletons while digging earth at a place earlier occupied by Tombisana High School which has been shut down for quite sometime now, the Manipur People’s Party (MPP) has alleged that the skulls and skeletons were of people killed two/three years back when the Congress party was in power both in the State and at the Centre.

Speaking to some media persons at their office today, MPP president N Sovakiran said that some of the skulls have still hair and parts of brain.

At one point of time, CRPF and police commandos occupied Tombisana High School campus and civilians were barred from entering the school campus.

Taking advantage of enforcement of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, security forces have been commi- tting all kinds of excesses at their whims and fancy for a protracted period.

It must be checked whe-ther the number of missing persons as reported at different police stations matches with the number of skulls discovered, Sovakiran said.

Questioning why those disgruntled youths who had taken the ‘wrong path’ in pursuit of certain demands were killed and buried, Sovakiran asserted that the State Government has been deliberately keeping NIA/CBI at bay despite all the fatal bomb blasts which rocked the State every now and then.

He went on to allege that the incumbent Government led by O Ibobi is working at the behest of certain intelligence agency and all the bomb blasts which killed many precious lives were carried out by certain elements sponsored by the Government.

MPP working committee member Y Priyokumar said that the discovery of eight skulls and a large number of skeletons would certainly spark off a serious human rights issue in Manipur.

All necessary laboratory tests should be conducted without any delay so as to identify all the skulls as well as the skeletons.

In case the State Government cannot identify the skulls and the skeletons within seven days, the National Human Rights Commi- ssion as well as the Union Home Ministry would be apprised about the disturbing discovery.

MPP vice-president M Amutombi speculated that many unknown persons might have been killed and buried taking advantage of the layers of security rings put around Tombisana High School campus when it was occupied by CRPF and police commandos.

Similar secret killings might have been committed in other places occupied by security forces. The discovery of eight skulls merits thorough investigation, he added. The Sangai Express

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