Manipur: Lawyers Protest Alleged Excessive Use of Force by Rapid Action Force

Northeast Desk, 21st February: The lawyer fraternity in Manipur staged a sit-in protest at Cheirap Court, expressing strong condemnation of the alleged excessive use of force by the Rapid Action Force (RAF) during attempts to control protesters the previous day.

The sit-in protest was jointly organized by the All Manipur Bar Association, High Court Bar Association, Bishnupur District Bar Association, and Thoubal District Bar Association in front of Cheirap Court.

Addressing the media on the sidelines of the protest, President of the All Manipur Bar Association, Puyam Tomcha, described the incident at the Cheirap Court Complex in Imphal City as very unfortunate. He highlighted that the Rapid Action Force had used excessive force against the public, including media personnel and advocates, while attempting to control the protesters.

Tomcha emphasized the significance of the Cheirap Court, considering it an age-old institution predating Manipur’s union with India. He deemed the use of excessive force within the court complex condemnable and intolerable, urging for the responsible individuals to be held accountable. He appealed to society, including security forces, to uphold the sanctity of the court.

He further stated that the protestors had gathered in relation to the arrest of six individuals for alleged involvement in an arms and ammunition looting incident. The number of protestors was minimal, indicating no necessity for the use of excessive force.

Tomcha called for an inquiry to be conducted within seven days, led by a retired chief justice of the High Court of Manipur.

It is noteworthy that the previous day, six persons arrested in connection with arms and ammunition looting from the 5th IRB Post Chingarel Tejpur were produced before the Cheirap Court and granted judicial custody remand until March 5. During the proceedings, protestors demanded their unconditional release, asserting their status as unarmed civilians. In response, the RAF fired tear gas shells, escalating tensions.

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