Manipur Lawyers condemn RAF’s excessive force inside Cheirap Court, demand inquiry within a week

Manipur lawyer fraternity staged a sit-in protest at Cheirap Court, expressing their strong condemnation against the excessive use of force by the Rapid Action Force (RAF) while attempting to control protesters, particularly women. The sit-in 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, the President of the All Manipur Bar Association, Puyam Tomcha, highlighted the incident that occurred yesterday at the Cheirap Court Complex, situated in the heart of Imphal City.

“As an attempt to control the protesters, the Rapid Action Force resorted to excessive force against the public, including media personnel and advocates,” stated Puyam Tomcha, President of the All Manipur Bar Association, addressing the media during the protest at Cheirap Court. “The Cheirap Court holds a significant historical legacy, predating Manipur’s integration into the Indian union. It is revered by the legal fraternity as a sacred place. The use of such excessive force within its premises is utterly condemnable and unacceptable. Those responsible must be held accountable,” he continued, urging both society and security forces to uphold the sanctity of the court.

He further stated that the protestors had gathered in connection with the cases related to the arrest of six individuals for an alleged arms and ammunition looting incident. The number of protestors was significantly low, making it unnecessary to resort to excessive force for control.

Therefore, he called for an inquiry to be conducted within seven days, headed by a retired Chief Justice of the High Court of Manipur. It should be noted that yesterday, six persons arrested in connection with the arms and ammunition looting from the 5th IRB Post in Chingarel Tejpur were produced before Cheirap Court and given judicial custody remand until March 5. In the meantime, protestors demanded their release unconditionally, asserting their unarmed civilian status. In an attempt to disperse the protestors, the RAF fired tear gas shells, further escalating the tension.