| Gaikhangam |
Imphal, Jan. 9: Manipur deputy chief minister Gaikhangam today said an inquiry would be ordered into the allegation that seven youths from Heirok in Thoubal district were taken to an Assam Rifles post by some individuals for a fake surrender.
The seven youths had yesterday alleged that they were taken to 42 Assam Rifles post in Chandel district by a woman, S. Purnima Devi, in two batches on December 29 and January 4 on the pretext of recruitment. At the post, Purnima Devi, who hails from Heirok, handed the youths over to her husband Gambhir Singh, who is believed to be a surrendered militant and stays at the post. Surrendered militants are often kept at security posts to help with coun-ter-insurgency operations.
Inside the post, the youths were forced to sign papers declaring that they were cadres of the Military Defence Force (Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup) by another person, also suspected to be a surrendered militant. Only after they signed the papers were they allowed to come out of the post.
Police arrested Purnima and her landlord in Heirok, Th. Rameshore, on Sunday. They are being interrogated. Rameshore’s son was among the seven youths.
The incident has created a furore in Heirok with local residents demanding an inquiry and punishment to those involved in “misguiding” the youths. Mandir Laishram, a spokesperson for Heirok, demanded a government inquiry into the recent surrender programmes to find out how many of the surrenders were genuine.
Speaking on the sidelines of a function at Taloulong village in Sadar Hills in Senapati district, Gaikhangam, who is also the home minister, told reporters, “We will order an inquiry and find out the truth. If any wrong has been committed by anyone, we will take action.” He did not say what kind of inquiry would be ordered.
The Assam Rifles said the allegation was “baseless” and aimed at defaming the force and interrupting the peace process between the Centre and Military Defence Force.
A statement issued by the public relations officer of IG Assam Rifles (South), Maj. Amit Chhetry, stated that 42 Assam Rifles authorities had not approached any local to join insurgent groups for peace process or surrender.
“All cadres brought by leaders of Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup for the ongoing peace process are verified at multiple levels. The seven youths approached 42 Assam Rifles for surrender. After preliminary investigation at the battalion level, they were not found to be part of the group. Thus, these seven youths were returned,” the statement said.
It said cadres are enrolled after a verification process by Assam Rifles and police authorities and only genuine cadres would be brought forward for the peace process.
A release issued by United National Liberation Front, the oldest Meitei insurgent group in the state, today said the incident had exposed the fake surrender programmes organised by the Assam Rifles, which were attended by chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and director-general of police Yumnam Joykumar Singh. It urged the people to be cautious about such activities of Assam Rifles and their agents.