Imphal, Oct. 7: Militants shot at and injured the wife and son of a school principal and Trinamul Congress candidate in the last Assembly elections at their Imphal West home today when the family was having breakfast.
The principal escaped the attack. One of the three assailants was caught and later handed over to police.
The police said three men, suspected to be cadres of Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA), came in a car to the house of P. Songlianlal, principal of St Peter’s School at Langol Games Village in Imphal West, and asked for him. When Songlianlal’s wife and son who were eating in the kitchen came out and asked the men why they had come, the militants opened fire.
The principal’s wife, Menpi, 49, and son Lenkhoson, 28, were hit by the bullets. They were later admitted to the nearby Shija Hospital and said to be out of danger.
The principal said the family had sat down to breakfast at their home, on the school campus, when the three gunmen came to their house around 9.40am.
“They enquired for me and as my wife and son went out of the kitchen to ask them the reason for their visit, they started firing. Both my son and wife were hit. On hearing the gunshots, I ran out. While two escaped in the car, the third was caught by the public,” Songlianlal told the police.
Songlianlal had contested on Trinamul Congress ticket in the Churachandpur constituency during the January state Assembly elections. He finished second to sitting MLA and health minister Phungzathang Tonsing.
The police said the attack could be linked to the Assembly elections. One of the assailants caught by the public is a ZRA cadre and a pistol was recovered from him. However, the other two managed to escape in the car.
The principal confirmed that all the three were cadres of the ZRA and they had repeatedly threatened to kill him during the election campaign.
The ZRA is one of 20 Kuki militant groups having a suspension of operations agreement with the government since 2005. The cadres of the group are now in a designated camp and ground rules prevent them from moving around with guns.
The incident evoked sharp reactions from the Games village residents. “The ZRA targeting innocent people is condemnable. The police should arrest the two other attackers,” a local resident demanded.
The police said they were interrogating the arrested cadre.