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Monday, March 4, 2024

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Monday, March 4, 2024

Death of ex-HNLC leader: Vaiphei Commission makes recommendations

Vaiphei said by undertaking such a reckless operation, the team completely lost sight of the possibility of harming the family members of the deceased.


The report into the death of former Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) leader Cheristerfield Thangkhiew by the One Man Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice T Vaiphei was tabled during the Autumn Session of the Assembly on September 9.

In the report, Justice Vaiphei had stated, “My finding is that the Tactical Team-I in carrying out the operation to arrest the deceased at his residence on August 13, 2021 at about 3 AM was culpable of thoughtless and excessive use of force, which resulted in the death of the deceased, late Cheristerfield Thangkhiew, which turned out to be avoidable.”

“In my considered view, the operation was well-planned but executed poorly, recklessly, hastily and without proper application of mind,” Justice Vaiphei said, while adding, “In order words, it was a botched-up operation that failed in its objective to apprehend the deceased alive, who would have given valuable information to the police about the subversive activities of the proscribed HNLC outfit.”

He said by undertaking such a reckless operation, the team completely lost sight of the possibility of harming the family members of the deceased, who were never accused of having anything to do with the nefarious activities the deceased was charged with.

The report also stated since civilians like the wife and sons of the deceased were admittedly present inside the house at the time of operation, prudence would have demanded that they should wait for dawn to ensure the safety of these civilians, which should have been the paramount consideration while raiding a residential house in urban areas.

Taking into consideration the facts, the Commission made some recommendations to the state government to avoid or prevent recurrence of such incidents and to protect the lives of the innocent.

It first recommended that raiding a residential house occupied by civilians in urban areas at night in pursuit of criminals/to arrest them should not be carried out so that innocent occupant(s) are not harmed in any manner.

Secondly, it said the police personnel deployed for night operation should be provided with night vision devices (NVDs), if they have not been provided.

It said the use of tear gas grenades should be made mandatory for the security forces while raiding residential houses in urban areas.

“In the event of raiding such residential houses, the primary consideration should be to avoid endangering the lives of innocent civilians or to prevent avoidable collateral damage,” it stated.

It also said that the police force needs to be sensitised to the human rights of citizens, and that a course to that effect may be organized from time to time.

Another important aspect the report listed is that whenever any raid of this nature is being conducted in urban areas, an ambulance should be made a part of the team so that unnecessary loss of life can be avoided.

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