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NSCN-IM leader guilty of murder

Imphal, June 1: A CBI special court has held senior NSCN (I-M) leader Hopeson Ningshen guilty of abducting and killing sub-divisional officer Thingnam Kishan and two of his subordinates five years ago.

The families of three victims are hoping for a befitting punishment for Ningshen.

Special CBI judge V.K. Gupta yesterday held self-styled Lt Col Hopeson Ningshen guilty under various sections of the IPC relating to abduction and killing of Kishan, Yumnam Tiken and Aribam Rajen Sharma, all from Imphal.

The court is expected to announce the sentence after sentence hearing on June 30.

The families have demanded capital punishment for Ningshen, considering the brutality of the crime.

Kishan, who was then posted at Kasom Khullen in Ukhrul district, and his subordinate staff, were abducted by NSCN (I-M) cadres from the district headquarters of Ukhrul on February 14, 2009.

Their mutilated bodies were found three days later in neighbouring Senapati district, triggering a violent protest in the valley. Police recovered a spade and boulders used in the crime.

Succumbing under strong public pressure, the Okram Ibobi Singh government handed over the case to the CBI. The families are yet to recover from the shock. They have been holding a memorial service every year seeking justice.

Delay in announcing the verdict has angered people in the state. Citizens’ bodies had even held a rally in Imphal earlier this year demanding early announcement of the court verdict.

“The families welcome the verdict of the CBI court. Justice will be done to my husband and two of his subordinates if the court awards capital punishment to Ningshen,” Thingnam Romita, wife of Kishan, said.

The families also want arrest, holding trial and punishment of three other cadres of the NSCN (I-M), listed in the CBI chargesheet as accused.

The CBI has not been able to arrest self-styled Major Ashang, Major Abo Chibo and Captain Johny of the outfit and declared them absconders. The chargesheet said the cadres killed the three officials for not paying Rs 20 lakh.

The NSCN (I-M) leadership had also held Ningshen guilty of the crime and handed him over to the CBI in May 2009.