Supreme Court seeks response from Centre, Assam, Meghalaya on missing Rebati Phukan

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The Supreme Court has issued an order on Friday seeking response from the Centre, Assam and Meghalaya governments on the disappearance of Rebati Phukan who had been working to bring peace between the government and separatist outfit United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) since 1991.

A vacation bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and MM Shantanagoudar had issued notice after senior advocate Geeta Luthra appearing for Phukan claimed that a doctor has reportedly treated him in Meghalaya few days back.

Luthra said that although the Assam chief minister have assured all possible help in finding Phukan but they do not know whether he was in captivity, as various Central agencies are involved in it.

She said it is a habeas corpus (a writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a court) petition filed by the son seeking direction to find his missing father.

The bench asked Luthra, “Why can’t you approach the high court for relief. Why have you come to Delhi from NorthEast. They can also do what we can do”.

Luthra in reply said despite the attempts of the Chief Minister, he has not been located in over a month, there are two states and various central agencies involved in the matter which cannot be appropriately tackled.

The plea filed by his son sought direction to the authorities, including Assam government, to produce Phukan before the court.

He had also urged the court that the case be transferred to CBI or any other independent agency or a special investigating team as there was “a loss of faith in the local police” due to its alleged lethargic conduct.

Kaushik has said in his plea that despite the registration of an FIR, no proactive steps have been taken till date by the police to trace his father, who was appointed as a member of the erstwhile People’s Consultative Group (PCG) formed by the ULFA in 2005 to mediate between the outfit and the Centre.

“The petitioner’s father has also been working directly with the Prime Minister’s Office since 1991 for various peace missions between the Centre and ULFA to bring peace in Assam,” the plea said, adding that Rebati Phukan had also “worked in association and cooperated” with the Intelligence Bureau (IB) till 2016 on various missions in India, Myanmar, Bangladesh and China.

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