Manipur violence: 27 FIRs, including 19 crimes against women taken over by CBItext_fields
New Delhi: 27 FIRs related to ethnic violence in Manipur that have taken more than 160 lives in just over four months have been turned over to the CBI for investigation, according to officials.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), according to the most recent data, has so far registered 27 cases that the state police have turned over to it, including 19 cases of crime against women, three cases involving a mob's looting of an armoury, two murder cases, one each of rioting and murder, kidnapping, and general criminal conspiracy, according to sources familiar with the situation.
The agency has re-registered these cases but has not made the details public because of the sensitive nature of the situation prevailing in the northeastern state, they said.
CBI teams have started questioning the suspects and victims after visiting the crime sites, the sources added.
The investigation gained momentum after the CBI top brass mobilised a team of 53 officers, including 29 women, drawn from various units of the federal agency across the country to probe the cases, they said.
With the society in Manipur divided on ethnic lines, the CBI is facing the critical task of avoiding allegations of bias during the operation as any involvement of people from one community will result in fingers pointed from the other side, the sources said.
They said several of these cases being probed by the CBI may attract provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, which can be probed by an officer of the rank of deputy superintendent of police.
Since the deputy SPs cannot be supervisory officers in such cases, the agency has mobilised one of its SP-ranked officers to supervise and monitor the investigation, they said.
The team also includes three DIGs -- Lovely Katiyar, Nirmala Devi and Mohit Gupta -- and Superintendent of Police Rajveer will report to a joint director who is supervising the overall probe, the sources said.
It is understood to be a first-of-its-kind mobilisation where such a large number of women officers have been simultaneously pressed into service, they added.
Two additional superintendents of police and six deputy superintendents of police -- all women -- are also part of the 53-member force, they said.
Besides, 16 inspectors and 10 sub-inspectors will also be part of the team, the sources said.
More than 160 people have been killed and several hundred injured since ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3, when a "Tribal Solidarity March" was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal valley, while tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mostly in the hill districts.
With PTI inputs