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Rally seeks verdict in Ukhrul murders

- Slain officials’ kin ask CBI court not to delay judgment

Imphal, Feb. 28: Citizens’ groups and relatives of the three Manipur government officials who were killed by NSCN (I-M) rebels have demanded a verdict in the trial of a senior member of the outfit by a CBI special court.

They have expressed their anguish over the repeated adjournments and delay in delivering the judgment by the court, which is trying self-styled Lt Col Hopeson Ningshen of the NSCN (I-M), involved in the killings.

CBI special judge V.K. Gupta, who had been hearing the case at Patiala House Court, New Delhi, had fixed January 18 as the date for the verdict, which was postponed to January 28.

The court again put off its judgment to February 15, which was yet again postponed to March 5.

NSCN (I-M) rebels abducted sub-divisional officer Thingnam Kishan and two of his subordinate staff, Y. Token and A. Rajen, in Ukhrul district on February 14, 2009.

Token and the two officials were posted at Kasom Khullen subdivision of Ukhrul.

The mutilated bodies of the three officials were recovered from Senapati district three days later.

The NSCN (I-M) handed Ningshen over to the CBI, which was investigating the case, on May 28, 2009.

The outfit found Ningshen guilty of “abduction, illegal detention and killing” of the three officials.

After holding 70 rounds of hearing and examining 62 witnesses, the CBI court reserved its judgement on December 19 last year.

Protesting the delay in announcing the verdict, nearly 300 protesters, including relatives of the three slain officials and members of citizens’ groups such as United Committee Manipur and All-Manipur United Clubs Organisation, took out a procession at Lamphel in Imphal today.

After marching nearly 500 metres to the CBI’s Imphal office at Lamphel, the protesters submitted a memorandum to the director of the CBI through the local office.

The memorandum urged the prosecution of the CBI to contest any further adjournment of the verdict by the special court and to ensure the arrest of all those involved in the case.

Y. Kapur, the convener of a joint action committee formed in connection with the case, said three more members of the NSCN (I-M), identified as self-styled major Abo Sibo, major Ashang and corporal Johny, were also involved in the killing. Kapur was part of the delegation that submitted the memorandum.

After submitting the memorandum, Kapur said the CBI office assured the delegation that there would not be any further delay in announcing the judgment.