Abuse of Justice

Two years is a very long time. But what would it be for those who are living with severe traumatized past? Even a single day would have stretched like a millennium. Ugly memories of rape, molestation, loss, shame, helplessness, forced upon them still haunts their everyday lives to numb them. But this, unfortunately, is the fate of the 27 Hmar sisters in Tipaimukh who were unmercifully molested sexually and raped by the cadres of the UNLF and KCP armed outfits in January 2006.

Whatever post-traumatic treatments, if they were given any, the victims underwent to heal the pains they were forcefully made to endure; the scars will live with them and their families throughout their lives. If only one can turn back the hands of time to save them from the ordeals those savages made them to bear forever. But we can do nothing about it now, can we?

Instead of giving them solace, security and what is owed to them, we continue to deny them their rightful rights, dignity and justice which are only how we can assist them. Instead, the greedy and unaccounted lots even grasp those away from them because they are no lesser than those savages who committed the unpardonable crime. Without any remorse, they dare to stand along with those who committed the crime.

And some of those are so obsessed to cross-examine those unfortunate sisters; they failed to reason that what they are doing increases the injustice done to them. They assume their obsession to be legally binding and right for a just deliverance of justice. Relentlessly, they think they are right but they are all wrong in whatever sense and in whatever stand they take.

The Rajkhowa Commission was instituted on March 18, 2006 by the Govt. of Manipur under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 to investigate the authenticity of the 'alleged' molestation and rape of Hmar girls and women in Tipaimukh. The judicial commission is neither a trial court nor is the case a trial case. In such a scenario, how is it possible that the accused and the victims are regarded as under-trials who are to be cross-examined? Is not the testimony of those distressed rape victims enough? Why has there been no demand for the accused to testify? What about cross-examining the accused? Where has the accused vanished? Have all of them been exterminated or concealed to bury the truth?

The fact that Rajkhowa Inquiry Commission is being roughshod by frontal groups of those outfits to which the accused belong, by their demands to cross-examine the victims is not only pathetic but is further evidence of the depth of muddy river Manipur is swimming. This also further undermines the sincerity and effectiveness of the State-instituted Rajkhowa Commission of Inquiry for what it was setup to accomplish. If it cannot act effectively on its own, using the power available at its disposal, how and when can there be the deliverance of justice for the tormented victims? Was the establishment of the Commission merely to whitewash the unlawful wrongs done?

Mention may be made that the Commissions of Inquiry Act does not give the rights to cross-examine victims. There is no mention in any sections of the Act that the victims can be cross-examined. The attempt to cross-examine them is legally not binding. The Rajkhowa Commission should not have bow down to such outrageous demands made by the rapists' representatives, namely the Human Rights Alert (HRA) and Manipur Forward Youth Front (MAFYF).

As if these are not enough, the frequent extensions of the 2-month deadline for the inquiry report and postponement of the supposedly cross-examinations due to some silly excuses is an evidence of how sickening the process of justice is in Manipur, especially for women victims. Justice can never be delivered in this stance. This is a mockery of the judicial system in the country.

The Rajkhowa Commission interviewed and took the testimony of the molested and rape victims at Tipaimukh on April, 2006. When the commission was instituted, the deadline to submit the report was within two months. With a series of postponement since then, the report of the Commission's inquiry is still pending to be submitted. Who knows, the report may never be submitted or made public.

The coldness of the Ibobi-led Manipur government attitude against the distraught rape victims is very obvious by its failure to organize any trauma counseling for them. Unethically, the state government has never ever stepped forward to help them cope with the traumatic experience they are still going through.

Till today, even the Interim Relief of Rupees 1 lakh each that was promised to those who testified before the Rajkhowa Commission, just before the State General Election in 2007, has never materialized. It is frightfully shameful how much the Government has come down by playing around with victims of rape and molestation.

If it is for the victims of landmines, floods, bomb blasts, accidents, and rape in the valleys, it acts very effectively. Even if relief is provided at all, the biasness of the government against the hill peoples can be differentiated from the amount of relief money given to them against those from the valleys.

The government and the civil society should stop abusing the judicial system in the country and stand up against the same. The raped and molested victims of Tipaimukh should be honored with their rights and justice without fail and without delay.


More by :  Elf Hmar

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