Manipur Unrest: CBI takes control of 27 FIRs, Including 19 related to crime against women

Manipur Unrest: CBI takes control of 27 FIRs, Including 19 related to crime against women

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has taken control of the investigation into 27 FIRs filed in relation to the ethnic clashes in Manipur, which have resulted in the loss of over 160 lives in a span of approximately four months, as per officials.

According to the most recent information, the CBI has officially registered 27 cases, transferred to it by the state police. Among these, 19 cases pertain to crimes against women, three involve an incident of mob looting an armory, two concern murder cases, and one each revolves around charges of rioting, murder, kidnapping, and general criminal conspiracy. Sources familiar with the developments revealed these details.

Although the agency has re-registered these cases, the specifics have not been disclosed due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing situation in the northeastern state. CBI teams have initiated their investigations by questioning both suspects and victims after visiting the locations where the crimes occurred, the sources added.

The investigation process gained momentum following the CBI's strategic deployment of a team of 53 officers, including 29 women, drawn from different units of the federal agency across the country. This team has been tasked with probing the aforementioned cases.

To further strengthen the manpower engaged in the investigation of the violence-related cases, the CBI has dispatched an additional group of 30 officers to Manipur. This influx of resources is expected to expedite the progress of the investigations in these 27 cases. Around 100 officials from the agency are actively working on the ground to conclude the inquiry. Given the societal divisions along ethnic lines in Manipur, the CBI is faced with the challenging task of avoiding allegations of bias during the operation. Any perceived involvement of individuals from one community could lead to accusations from the other side, as outlined by the sources.

The Supreme Court has already directed the transfer of CBI cases linked to the Manipur violence to Assam. It is worth noting that some of these cases being investigated by the CBI may fall under the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989. Such cases can be handled by a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) or an officer of an equivalent rank.

Considering that deputy SPs cannot assume supervisory roles in such cases, the CBI has assigned one of its officers holding the rank of superintendent of police (SP) to oversee the investigation. This supervisory team, which comprises at least three deputy inspector generals (DIGs), will report to a joint director responsible for overseeing the overall investigation, as per the sources.

This effort is believed to be a unique mobilization where a significant number of women officers have been simultaneously engaged in this capacity, marking a first-of-its-kind initiative. The violence in Manipur erupted on May 3 when a "Tribal Solidarity March" was organized in the hill districts to protest the demand for Scheduled Tribe status by the majority Meitei community. The Meiteis constitute around 53% of Manipur's population and are mainly concentrated in the Imphal valley, while the remaining 40% comprises various tribal groups such as Nagas and Kukis, residing predominantly in the hill districts.

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