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Plea to free four villagers

Imphal, March 23: Deputy commissioner of Ukhrul N. Ashok Kumar today forwarded to the Manipur home department the complaint lodged by residents of Kangpat about the arrest of four villagers by Myanmarese army earlier this month.

“I have forwarded the complaint lodged by the villagers to the state home department for necessary action,” Ashok Kumar said.

In their complaint, the villagers said Myanmarese soldiers intruded to Kangpat Khunou, bordering Myanmar, on March 8 and took away four villagers, Ngalo Ningshen, 40, who is a college lecturer, Themson Chitung, 38, Sangreiyo Keishing, 18, and Manurim Keishing, 14, on the charge of stealing timber from Myanmar.

The army team also drove away a timber-loaded truck.

In the complaint, the villagers urged the government to take necessary steps to secure the release of these villagers. Ningshen is a zoology teacher at Pettigrew College in Ukhrul.

Confirming that the deputy commissioner submitted his report, home commissioner Vumlunmang Vualnam told this correspondent that he would forward the matter to the director-general of police, Yumnam Joykumar Singh, and the superintendent of police of Chandel district, K. Radhashyam, for action.

“I will tell the Chandel SP to contact his counterpart across the border at Tamu and make enquiries about the arrest of the villagers for further steps,” the home commissioner said.

Official sources said whenever there was a problem between Manipur and Myanmar, the Chandel SP contacted his counterpart in Tamu to sort out the problem.

The home commissioner added that the state government would also appraise the matter to the Union home secretary to take it up with the Myanmarese authorities.

“Since the matter involves two countries it is necessary to inform the Centre for taking up the matter with the Myanmarese government,” the home commissioner said.

“We are trying to find out if the claim by the villagers that the Myanmarese army personnel entered their village and took the four away is valid,” an official source in Ukhrul said.

Sources in Ukhrul believed that the four arrested villagers were in Myanmarese army custody in Tamu.

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