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Manipur Nagas join protest

Imphal, Feb. 25: The Naga community in Manipur’s Ukhrul district today joined the campaign to punish the NSCN (I-M) members involved in the killing of sub-divisional officer Thingnam Kishan and his two subordinate staff by holding a protest rally in the district headquarters.

Three other subordinate staff of the SDO who were abducted along with the slain officials were rescued by police and Assam Rifles on February 21 from Ukhrul.

The NSCN (I-M) had admitted that the self-styled commanding officer of the outfit’s Kiusumong battalion, H. Ningshen, “masterminded” the abduction of Kishan, his driver Rajen and chainman Token Singh from Ukhrul on February 13 and murder of the three officials on February 17 in Senapati district.

Residents of Ukhrul, home district of NSCN (I-M) leader Thuingaleng Muivah took out the rally while the Nagas in Senapati district strongly protested against the crime committed in the district.

Ukhrul is dominated by Tangkhuls while different groups of the Naga community are the majority in Senapati district.

Thousands of men and women in traditional apparel took out the protest march from two points —Tungrei junction and Kharasom junction — located on the outskirts of Ukhrul town. Students in school uniforms also took part in the procession.

The rally, organised by the Tangkhul Naga Long, the apex body of Tangkhul community in Manipur, demanded that the culprits involved in the killings be punished according to tribal customary law.

Stephan Angami, president of Tangkhul Naga Long, however, appealed to all sections of the people not to politicise the case.

“The rally is being held to support the agitation for justice in the triple murder case. The culprits committed two wrongs. The first is the crime itself and the second is the dumping of the bodies in Senapati district. This act should not be repeated by anyone,” L.M. Ngaranmei, a member of the Tangkhul Elders Forum, said.

Educational institutions were closed in Ukhrul today. Shops and business establishments were closed in Ukhrul town during the march and a meeting held at the Tangkhul Naga Long ground.

In a related development, the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (South) accused chief minister Ibobi Singh of failing to protect his officials and appealed to the people not to take any step to disturb communal harmony.

“The primary objective of seeking justice for the killing of the SDO and the two staff should not be diverted and politicised by any individual and groups to get political mileage or to victimise any community,” the rights body said in a statement here today.

On the other hand, the indefinite curfew, imposed on February 19 in Imphal East and Imphal West districts, was today relaxed for 12 hours from 6am, adds PTI.

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