The NationalHuman Rights Commission has issued notices to the Manipur government and the state's police chief over reports that at least 13 people were killed in a gunfight in Leithao village in the Tengnoupal district, officials said on Friday.
The incident, as reported, indicates a "lapse" on the part of the law enforcing agencies and the forces deployed to ensure peace and law and order in the state, the rights panel said in a statement.
The National Human Rights Commission observed that the reported loss of 13 lives in an area, which remained calm since the tension erupted in the state of Manipur in May this year, is "alarming and disturbing".
The rights panel has taken suo motu cognisance of a media report that "at least 13 people were killed in a gunfight in Leithao village near Saibol in the Tengnoupal district, Manipur. Reportedly, the incident happened on December 4," it said.
The commission has observed that the contents of the media report, if true, amount to a serious issue of human rights violations and is a matter of concern.
Accordingly, it has issued notices to the state's chief secretary and the director general of police, seeking a detailed report within two weeks, the statement said.
It should include the status of the FIR registered by the police and steps taken by the state government to ensure that such incidents of violence do not take place anywhere in the state, the rights panel said.
"The state of Manipur and its people have already suffered a lot. It is firmly reiterated that it is the duty of the state to protect the life and properties of its citizens both private and public and to promote fraternity and spirit of brotherliness amongst the communities," it said.
The NHRC since May 2023 has received several complaints from individuals, NGOs and activists alleging violation of human rights during the incidents of violence in Manipur, the statement said.
The commission said these matters are being considered by the full bench of the commission and were also discussed at length, during its camp sitting at Guwahati, Assam on November 17. Senior officers from the government of Manipur, as well as the representatives of the complainants and civil society were also present, the statement said.
According to the media report, carried on December 5, the village has nine houses and around 120 residents. However, no casualties were reported among the villagers.
Prima facie, it is suspected that the victims of the violence could even be militants from Myanmar since the nearby hills from Leithao are a common route used by them to enter Manipur, it said.
Reportedly, this is the highest single-day loss of life in the violence that erupted in Manipur this year, it added.