Police Ask BMC’s Help

Updated: Feb 11

(February 10) In a February 5th letter addressed to the chairman of Manipur’s B’nei Menashe Council, an Investigating Officer of the Churachandpur Women’s Police Station has asked for help in apprehending the accused rapist of the daughter of B’nei Menashe congregant Sarah Baite. (In India, crimes against women are dealt with by a special division of the police.) Although the officer’s letter disclosed the accused’s full name and address, our Newsletter will honor her request not to make these public at the present moment.


The police investigation was launched after Baite lodged a complaint against the accused on January 11, charging him with having raped her daughter, then eight years old, in 2016. Citing an FIR or First Information Report filed on January 27, the letter to the BMC stated:


“In c/w [connection with] the above ref. FIR, [an] Enquiry was conducted into the matter to substantiate the charge leveled against the alleged accused and [it] has been proved that the minor girl child was sexually assaulted repeatedly by the named accused person in the year 2016 on different occasions. Several witnesses have also been examined in this connection.”


From the Investigating Officer’s letter to the B’nei Menashe Council.

The police turned to the BMC for help in apprehending the accused because he is a resident and citizen of Israel, to which he made Aliyah in 2018. The case, it said in its letter, was “deemed serious and important,” and “necessary action” needed to be taken to provide for “the appearance of the accused person before the OC/WPS-CCP [Officer in Charge of the Women’s Police Station of Churachandpur] so as to enable his arrest at the earliest.”


How the accused could be “arrested” in Israel is unclear. Although Israel and India have had an extradition treaty since 2012, extradition for trial in India would be a complicated procedure that would have to be handled at a national level. “The B’nei Menashe Council has no legal standing in this case,” our Newsletter was told by a legal source. “Extradition would depend on the governments of the two countries, or at least on their ministries of justice, deeming the matter ‘serious and important’ enough to merit such action. Extradition requests have to go through the courts, where they can be appealed, and they can drag on for years.”


A more promising route, our source said, might be for the Manipuri police to cooperate with the Israeli police in bringing the accused to trial in Israel. This would be especially feasible if Sarah Baite and her daughter could be brought to Israel to testify and be subject to cross-examination by the defendant’s lawyers. “The fact that the crime was committed in another country would not necessarily be a hindrance,” he observed. “In theory, Israel’s courts have jurisdiction over the acts of an Israeli citizen, no matter where they were committed. But a defendant has his rights, and these include the right to question his accusers in a court of law.”


As a to what the BMC might do to assist the investigation, Lalam Hangshing, Chairman of the B’nei Menashe Council, was vague. “I can only say right now,” he stated, “that this is an encouraging development in the pursuit of justice. The BMC will do all it can to be of assistance.”