NEW YORK - The Manipur government should act to end a cycle of unpunished violence, including killings, by security forces and armed groups, Human Rights Watch said Saturday.
Human Rights Watch said that urgent action was needed to support this process by repealing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which critics say has facilitated serious security force abuse for years.
“The situation in Manipur is nothing less than a breakdown in the rule of law,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“Repealing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act would help to put an end to the abductions, torture and killings, and help restore people’s confidence in the government.
“Unexplained killings attributed to the security forces or armed groups have become common in an increasingly lawless Manipur,” said Ganguly.
“The state and central governments can restore some public confidence by getting serious about investigating and prosecuting these killings and ensuring that justice is done.”
Nearly 30 armed groups are estimated to operate in Manipur. Some have such a strong hold over Manipuri society that ordinary citizens have been forced to build alliances with them to ensure protection.
The armed groups routinely extract “taxes” from people, even including government officials, and carry out abductions for ransom. These groups have also been implicated in killings.