'We'll never get justice from state. If we get it from Supreme Court...'

NAT

Kiranjit Elangbam I 24--Army dreams cut short

Kiranjit ElangBAM, 24, of Thoubal Haokha village, the eldest son and second of five siblings, was a sports and fitness enthusiast who dreamt of entering the armed forces. He was killed on April 24, 2009.

"It was a public holiday, anniversary of Manipur's battle with the British. My son had taken our cow, with his bicycle, to the community grazing field," says Kiranjit's father, Ibohal Elangbam, 53. "He wasn't back till 3pm and youths went looking for him. They found the bicycle but not Kiranjit. His mobile wasn't working. The next morning, neighbours told us he had been picked up by a group of commandos. The same morning, we heard on the 7.30 news that an insurgent had been picked up from Thoubal. We went to the Thoubal police but they said there was no such case. The neighbouring Kakching police too told us there was no such case filed with them."

The family eventually found Kiranjit's body in a morgue. "We came to know he had been shot in Lamlai, on the road to Ukhrul. He was shot near the foothills where no one lives," says Elangbam. The family went back to the police. "The police didn't even allow us to enter the station. We found out it was policeman Hollal Haokip who had handed over the body to the morgue," says Elangbam. By now the police were alleging that Kiranjit was a member of the insurgent group KCP and that they had recovered a 9mm gun from his body.

The state's response to the subsequent judicial inquiry was, "Jamadar Hollal Haokip filed a written report regarding two persons holding weapons and consequently force of police and 23 Assam Rifles proceeded to the site and laid ambush... The two persons challenged the police by opening fire, following which the said jamadar opened retaliation and one person was shot dead, and the other escaped..."

... contd.

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