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Discounting lives

by IT Web Admin
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The state government has gone and done it – yet again! The acquired and most contagious habit of making impulsive decisions on matters which are bound to have repercussions beyond its limited ability to control or concur with, despite the simmering social tensions and uncertainties brought about by similar previous spurts of half-baked resolutions and announcements have once again brought the possibility of sparking another bout of unrest and agitations across the state. The unilateral decision of the Ibobi-led state government to trim down the list of fake encounter victims whose families are to be compensated as per the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission from 34 to 28 is nothing but an invitation to the families of the bereaved as well as the civil society organizations and human rights activists at large to commence another bout of disruptions, agitations and social upheaval. It may be recalled that the National Human Rights Commission directed the state government to pay Rs 5 lakh each as compensation to the families of all 34 victims on 13 April 2015 after a government instituted magisterial inquiry to probe their deaths found every single case to be that of a ‘Staged-encounter’ or fake encounter. On December 8, 2015 the SC passed an order that compensation should be given by the State to the victims recommended by the NHRC. There was a delay by the State in giving the compensation amount and a fine of Rs 50,000had been slapped by the SC in addition to the compensation amount of Rs 5 lakh. The turn of events in this particular sensitive case with wider social implications than the state government would care to give credence to clearly go to show the extent of deliberate negligence and callous attitude of the leaders of the state. What is more, such blatant disregard for human lives reflects the very core of the thinking of the state government and its approach towards dealing with the public, steeped as the government machinery and its operators are in buying off oppositions and bribing their way out of any uncomfortable situation. 
Meanwhile, the state being the social tinderbox that is, is sure to catch on to the simmering flare and we can expect the usual mode of venting collective frustrations. Another report of a father of a fake encounter victim being handed a cheque of Rs 4 lakh instead of the Rs 5.5 lakh as directed by the Supreme Court also points to the depth to which the representatives of the people have stooped down, all for a measly few lakh- an amount which would not have even covered a fraction of the expenses of a single family occasion of these leaders, as have witnessed more times than anyone would care to remember.
Call it disregard or contempt of a ruling, the state government have a moral and social obligation to make transparent the rationale behind the decision to whittle down the list, if ever there is any rationality to talk of. The public does not need nor desire another social eruption. After all, the people of the state are more than a collection of individuals whose universal suffrage can be brought for a sum to make up the required number. That is the only universal truth the leaders should keep in mind.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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