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NIA starts Imphal blast probe
Assam kin accept bodies

- Manipur moves migrants to camp

Imphal, Sept. 15: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has started probing the Friday night grenade attack here that killed nine labourers from Assam and wounded 12.

Suspected militants had hurled a Chinese grenade into a shed housing labourers engaged in covering the Naga nullah at Nagamapal here at 7.40pm on Friday, killing five labourers on the spot. Four more died later that night. The condition of one of the injured is stated to be critical.

No militant group, however, has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

The Manipur government had yesterday announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased, Rs 50,000 for the seriously wounded and Rs 10,000 for those with minor injuries.

A senior police officer here said an NIA team had arrived from Guwahati yesterday and had immediately started probing the attack.

“They visited the spot where the grenade had exploded. The sleuths also spoke to state police officers investigating the case. They, however, did not share much information with us,” he said.

He said the team, led by NIA superintendent of police Debajit Hazarika, left this afternoon.

Manipur director-general of police M.K. Das had yesterday said they had unearthed some leads to the identity of the attackers. He said the grenade used was of Chinese make and was very powerful.

The police have started shifting people from various parts of Imphal West, which has the highest concentration of migrants.

Nearly 200 migrants, including women and children, were shifted to a dharamshala run by non-Manipuri businessmen here. The district administration is providing them food.

The police said those shifted mostly hail from Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.

“Policemen came to our place last night and brought me, my elder brother and my sister-in-law here,” said Indrajit Biswas, 16, who works in an iron workshop at Chingmeirong on the outskirts here.

Indrajit, who hails from Nagaon in Assam and has been working here for the past six months, said he could not understand why the labourers were killed. “The police said we could be killed. Why would anyone want to kill us? We are just here to earn a livelihood.”

The police said the migrants would be kept at the dharamshala for some days before being allowed to return to their workplaces, depending on the situation.

In another development, a BSF patrol detected a 4kg improvised explosive device planted by the roadside at Yourabung in Imphal East this morning. The police said the bomb contained 2.1gm of RDX.

In Assam, relatives of the seven slain labourers from the state’s Kamrup district finally accepted their bodies, which reached Guwahati last evening and were subsequently taken to their village after the district administration assured them of additional compensation.

All seven hailed from Palahartari under Nagarbera police station in the district, which is around 100km from Guwahati.

Kamrup deputy commissioner J. Balaji said the villagers “demanded additional compensation from the state government and finally agreed to take the bodies from the police outpost for performing last rites after all possible help was assured”.

He said Rs 10,000 was instantly paid to each victim’s family for cremation of the deceased.

The bodies of the remaining two labourers, from Rongjuli in the state’s Goalpara district, were also shifted from Guwahati to the police outpost near their village.