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Judicial custody for Manipur pugilist

Imphal, Jan. 17: An Imphal court today remanded SAI boxing coach Ngangom Dingko Singh in judicial custody till January 31 in connection with the assault of three girl students at the SAI Special Area Games (SAG) centre here on January 13.

R.K. Memcha Devi, the chief judicial magistrate, Imphal West, ordered judicial remand for the boxer after additional public prosecutor Rajen Singh pleaded for it, saying the police investigation into the case was almost complete.

The police said Dingko Singh — who had won a gold medal in the Bangkok Asian Games in 1998 — surrendered at the Imphal West police station last night after the police began looking for him.

He was booked under Section 324 of IPC, relating to causing injuries using dangerous weapons, Section 354 of IPC, concerning an attempt to outrage the modesty of a woman and Section 23 of Juvenile Justice Act, relating to committing cruelty on a minor.

If convicted, the pugilist could spend upto five years’ in jail with fine, Rakesh Meihoubam, the director of Human Rights Law Network, Manipur chapter, said.

Dingko had assaulted the three students of weightlifting after calling them out of their hostel rooms on January 13 night.

He had allegedly beaten them up with a stick near the girls’ hostel at Khuman Lampak sports complex here.

The pugilist had allegedly been provoked by some writing on the dust-covered windshield of his car — which was parked at the complex — by Soibam Aranbala, 17, one of the three girls.

Aranbala was admitted to Shija Hospitals here on Wednesday night with injuries on her legs, while the other two girls — Chungkha Kamei, 17 from Tamenglong district and Yaifabi, 17 from Ukhrul district — were admitted to the hospital today with similar injuries.

He also allegedly threw water on the girls during the assault.

The police yesterday seized the bucket used by him from the SAI complex as evidence.

The incident has evoked strong reactions from sports organisations and citizens’ groups.

Manipur Boxing Association is also contemplating action against Dingko Singh.

The court has rejected a bail application by the coach. His counsel, Mani Sharma, pleaded for bail saying that he was innocent until proven guilty, an international boxer and a Padma Shri.

The magistrate rejected the plea, saying the fact that Dingko Singh was an international boxer and a Padma Shri could not be a reason to waive the charges levelled against him.

Women’s organisations today staged a sit-in at Wahengleikai crossing in Imphal, near the magistrate’s court complex, demanding severe punishment for the boxer.

After the demonstration, the women visited the girls’ hostel to meet the students to enquire about their condition and garner facts about the case.