Imphal, May 7: Emotions spilled over in Manipur after a youth who had been produced in court by the Assam Rifles as a surrendered militant refused to even recognise his parents, triggering a mob attack on the residence of the man allegedly responsible for his behaviour.
The youth declared in a packed Imphal courtroom yesterday that he was Ngairangbam Mocha, alias Nanao, from Mayang Imphal Thana of Imphal West and not Heikrujam Momocha of Langmeidong village, as claimed by the elderly couple who had moved court for his release.
Nanao also corroborated the Assam Rifles’ contention that he had surrendered with weapons to the paramilitary force along with four others. The statement left the woman who claimed to be his mother in tears and residents of Langmeidong, in Thoubal district, livid.
As dusk fell, a mob set ablaze the house of Yengkhom Somananda at nearby Laimanai village for allegedly luring Nanao and four other youths to a “fake surrender ceremony” with the promise of jobs in the Assam Rifles.
The other four ' Heikrujam Govind, Sagolsem Govind, Heikrujam Ingo and Heikrujam Lemba ' were released recently after being produced in court.
Their parents had filed a batch of habeas corpus petitions with the Imphal bench of Gauhati High Court, accusing the Assam Rifles of detaining them on false charges.
Somananda had allegedly offered all five youths jobs if they participated in a surrender ceremony organised by the Assam Rifles. They were paraded before the media on March 13 as surrendered militants.
Apart from Somananda’s house, the mob set ablaze the houses in which his father and sister lived. The incident occurred at 10.30 pm. Somananda has been absconding since allegations of his involvement in the allegedly fake surrenders first did the rounds. His family members fled Laimanai after the arson last night.
On May 3, an Imphal court released Heikrujam Govind and Sagolsem Govind on personal bonds of Rs 10,000 each. The Assam Rifles had transferred the duo to police custody on April 25. Two days later, the chief judicial magistrate of Chandel released Heikrujam Ingo and Heikrujam Lemba when the paramilitary force produced them directly in court.
However, Nanao sensationally admitted in court yesterday that he was a militant of the United National Liberation Front and had voluntarily surrendered to the Assam Rifles. The court allowed the paramilitary force to retain custody of the youth.
A resident of Laimanai told the media that Somananda, who is the secretary of a local club, had in the past facilitated the recruitment of some village youths to various units of the security forces.
The banned UNLF has asked Somananda and two accomplices from Imphal East district to surrender to the outfit or face death.