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Sit-in to free ex-militant

- Assam Rifles picked up surrendered rebel: Army

Imphal, May 8: The whisking away of a surrendered militant allegedly by Assam Rifles from his Imphal West home early morning today triggered a protest at Patsoi Part-4, 7km from Imphal, where he lives with his family.

In a report to police, the family said five armed persons — three in civil dresses but masked and two in military uniforms — barged into the house of Taorem Sanayai alias Sanathoi, 26, and took him away at 2 this morning. They suspect that the five were Assam Rifles personnel.

The family said Sanayai, former cadre of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA), was leading a normal life with his wife after his surrender to the 18 Sikh Regiment in September 2012.

He holds an identity card issued by 18 Sikh Regiment on September 26, 2012, identifying him as a surrendered militant. After the surrender, he has been staying at his home.

“After the surrender, my husband has been staying at home and leading a normal life by doing any available manual work to eke out a living. He disassociated from his organisation more than 10 years back,” his wife Geeta Devi said.

The Sikh Regiment confirmed that Sanayai had surrendered to the unit, whose company operating base (post) is located very close to his house. The post is reportedly trying to trace the whereabouts of Sanayai.

Geeta Devi this morning lodged a complaint with Patsoi police station, praying to trace her husband.

Narrating the incident, Geeta Devi said around 2am, some persons knocked the door of their house. When they opened the door, three individuals in civil dresses were found near the door while two other men in full military uniforms holding long weapons appeared from the backyard of the house.

“They entered our house asked for my husband and forcibly took him away. They did not listen to our plea that he is a surrendered militant,” she said.

“We have information that those who took away my husband were personnel of the 10 Assam Rifles. We demand that my husband be released safely,” Geeta Devi said.

Angered by the incident, residents of Patsoi Part-4 today staged a sit-in at the local nishaband office (office of local women activists), demanding immediate release of the man.

“Sanayai is now leading a normal life. He should be released immediately without any harm. He is innocent,” another woman protester demanded.

The Patsoi residents are also mounting pressure on the Sikh Regiment to help find Sanayai.

The army confirmed that Sanayai was picked up by personnel of the 10 Assam Rifles on the charge of extortion. He was later handed over to the police in the afternoon, the army said.

The 10 Assam Rifles is under the operational command of the 57 Mountain Division of the army.