The Manipur case is a cause celebre in such matters and it is very important that it is quickly concluded and justice rendered.
The booking of an Army officer in a case of suspected extra-judicial killing in Manipur by the CBI is a painful reminder of what could happen at times even in the most disciplined of forces. This tells us that however tardy the system may be in acting on charges against Army personnel, action must be taken regardless of how rare it is that the armed forces are questioned when they are forced to be in operation in civilian areas due to militancy. There is none too exalted to be above the law. And in this particular case it does appear the circumstances surrounding the death of a schoolboy were too suspicious for the Army’s account to be taken at face value. When a teenager and his friend are pulled out of a house and brutally treated in a nearby field in the full view of relatives it would appear that the particular set of forces under the officer’s command had abandoned all tenets of training and service in the Army.
The Army’s role in containing terrorism and defusing militant plots against the nation is unenviable. While certain use of force in such situations is a given, such brutal behaviour against young people without any criminal antecedents amounts to a clear transgression of all rules of conduct even in extremely trying circumstances. The fact that this case comes up nine years after the event is a pointer to how our system works. It would appear logical that a quick pressing of charges and thorough investigation by law enforcement before presenting the case before the judiciary would help not only bring justice but also serve as a warning to all that boundaries of disciplined behaviour are never crossed. The Manipur case is a cause celebre in such matters and it is very important that it is quickly concluded and justice rendered.