Following the custodial death of Henveih Phom (35 years) due to alleged torture by Assam Police at Gelekey Police Station in Sivasagar district of Assam on 21 August 2022, hundreds of citizens from the Eastern community gathered at Old MLA junction, Kohima on Tuesday holding candles and placards to mourn the death of the deceased and to demand justice. The candlelight vigil was organised by the Phom Students’ Union Kohima.
The Phom Union Kohima (PUK) during the candlelight vigil demanded that a proper forensic investigation be carried out to ascertain the actual cause of death and that the police personnel responsible for the death under custody be tried for homicide.
The president of the Phom Union Kohima, Dr Manyua Phom, in his address said as per the provisional post mortem report, the cause of death is stated as cardiac failure because of chronic anaemia. However, he alleged that the injuries sustained on the body as per the photos and videos indicate a completely different picture.
Dr Manyau Phom stated that every citizen of this country deserves the right to a fair trial in the court of law.
“It is extremely shocking to know that the torture brutally inflicted on the person leading to his death was committed by none other than the law keepers themselves,” said Dr Phom, adding that the crime committed by the Assam Police is an absolute violation of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of India and an abuse of human rights.
He also appealed to the governments of Assam and Nagaland to provide compensation to the family members of the deceased.
N Toshi Chang, President Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Union Kohima, alleged that the Assam Police neglected all protocols and acted on their own accord resulting in the death of Phom which only showed the callous disregard for human life of the Assam Police. “Such actions have no place in our society, in our constitution nor in any democratic state,” he said.
He stated that the culprits should be brought under trial as per the constitution and law, and further demanded both the state governments of Assam and Nagaland to work in coordination and conduct a thorough investigation to bring to justice the culprits and bring back the honour of the family of the bereaved.
The Phom Students’ Union Kohima and the Eastern Nagaland Students Federation during the vigil also strongly demanded the competent authority to immediately constitute the Special Investigating Team (SIT) under the competent investigating officer to enquire into the mysterious death of Henveih Phom and to ensure that timely justice is delivered by booking the perpetrators under relevant section of the law.