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Deranged man in Imphal hostage drama

Imphal, Sept. 4: A mentally unstable man armed with a carbine held three women hostage in the head post office here for close to an hour before a team of commandos shot him dead.

The usually humdrum environs of the post office, located opposite the chief minister’s office, became surcharged with tension when Md Kiyamuddin snatched a carbine from one of three CRPF sentries deployed at the rear of the building and rushed inside.

He entered the post office at 2.50 pm, rounded up the three hostages and did not budge from his position until 3.40 pm, when the rescue team brought him down with three shots. He fired seven rounds before slumping to the floor.

Police initially thought he was a militant, but revised their opinion after observing his attitude. He made no demand and did not speak to anybody before commandos, backed up by CRPF personnel, moved into the building to end the drama.

Investigators were trying to find a possible motive behind Kiyamuddin’s actions when his father arrived on the scene to identify the body. He said his son had been “unwell”.

The police found an identity card issued by the Manipur Civil Services Cricket Association to “Md Kiyamuddin, grade IV employee, state planning department” in one of the pockets on the slain youth’s attire. He was carrying a secretariat entry permit, too. It transpired that a minister of state had issued it.

The drama inside the head post office unfolded even as chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh was presiding over a meeting to review the operation launched by police and paramilitary forces to rescue revenue commissioner I.S. Laishram from the banned Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup.

On being informed about the incident, additional director-general of police Y. Joykumar Singh left the meeting to supervise a different kind of operation. Deputy inspector-general S.S. Sandhu of the CRPF and director-general of police S. Bimolchandra followed suit.

The initial buzz was that a man with a pistol had entered the post office and threatened to kill the people inside. Sandhu clarified later that the intruder had snatched a carbine from one of the three guards at the back entrance to the building.

Security forces surrounded the post office from all sides and blocked all approach roads before the rescue team moved in for the kill.

A senior woman employee of the post office said she came to know something was amiss when a CRPF sentry asked her if she had seen anybody coming inside from the rear entrance minutes ago. Just as the guard walked out on getting a negative reply from her, the woman heard the first gunshots.

Recalling the incident with horror still writ large on her face, the postal employee said she hid in the toilet when the firing began. She could not say from which direction the gunshots were fired.

Kiyamuddin was gunned down near an office room on the first floor of the building. Other portions of the first floor were deserted because of renovation.

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