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Manipur Violence: Supreme Court Directs NIA to Shift Arms Theft Trial Away from State

Supreme Court Addresses Manipur Violence, Orders NIA to Move Arms Theft Trial

On Monday, the Supreme Court mandated the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to oversee the trial of an arms theft case away from Manipur.

During a hearing presided over by Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan, a petition was brought forth by Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) Chief David Hangshing and United Kuki Liberation Front (UKLF) leader Lhunkhoson Haokip, requesting the transfer of their arms theft case trial from Manipur to Assam.

The bench instructed Additional Solicitor General Vikramjit Banerjee, representing the NIA, to ascertain the most convenient court or state for the trial, scheduling further deliberations for April 29.

Manipur violence: What is happening and why
Source: BBC

When asked by the bench which court or state they were seeking the transfer to, the petitioners’ counsel specified Guwahati.

Banerjee proposed conducting the proceedings via video-conferencing due to the sensitivity of the matter. However, the Supreme Court maintained that in-person identification of the accused by witnesses was crucial and couldn’t be achieved through virtual means.

Banerjee expressed concerns about transferring 138 witnesses out of the state, but the apex court dismissed the objection, citing a prior instance of a criminal case being relocated from Manipur.

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Respondent No.10, Yamthong Haokip, a former Member of Manipur Legislative Assembly, also advocated for the transfer, highlighting the life-threatening nature of the case for his client. He suggested Nagaland as a viable location, given its proximity to the village where most of the accused resided.

Consequently, the Supreme Court directed Banerjee to identify the most suitable court with an adequate number of judicial officers, taking into account the logistical feasibility of transporting the accused in custody.

The petitioners’ counsel informed the court that all accused parties had been included in the proceedings.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. […] Violence has erupted once again in Manipur’s Jiribam district, resulting in significant property damage and displacement of residents. The latest incident saw a mob setting fire to two abandoned Meitei houses in Jiribam, adding to the toll of over 70 homes destroyed across both communities. This escalation has forced over a thousand people to seek refuge in safer areas of neighboring Assam… […]

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