Some of the bodies recovered in Pachaspura. Picture by Manash Pratim Gogoi
Kohima/Golaghat, Jan. 4: Nine highly decomposed bodies, blindfolded and hands tied, were found in a locality 15km from Dimapur town in Nagaland last night.
Dimapur superintendent of police V.Z. Angami told The Telegraph today that the bodies were found piled in a roadside drain at Pachaspura, 6km from Chumukedima town, in Dimapur district.
Police sources said the victims had been blindfolded, their hands tied behind their backs and they had been shot in the head from close range, probably at the very spot the bodies were found covered with a blue polythene sheet with boulders placed on top.
The police were informed about the bodies by labourers working in the area last evening. A case has been registered at Diphupar police station under which the area falls.
One of the bodies has been identified as that of Karbi Students Association (KSA) leader Harlongbi Engti, 21, a resident of Rongkangthir locality in Bokajan town of Assam’s Karbi Anglong district, bordering Dimapur district.
His body was identified by his family members at the morgue of Dimapur civil hospital, where the bodies have been kept. It was handed over to them, Assam home secretary Mukti Gogoi said.
The police said Harlongbi, a student of Diphu Government College, had gone to Dimapur on December 28 for marketing and to meet his friends. No one had heard from him since.
Four other Karbi youths, Bilison Rongpi, 22, Rajiv Engti, 24, Sunil Rongpi, 23, and Mongolsing Engti, 24, all residents of Dikoi Engti village in Upper Deopani in Karbi Anglong, were also kidnapped from 7th Mile on December 28 while returning from their workplace in Kohima, sources said. Mongolsing, however, managed to escape and reached home today.
The police suspect all the nine victims were abducted from 7th Mile on December 28 by unidentified persons.
The deputy inspector-general of Dimapur range, Akumba Yimch, said looking at the decomposed state of the bodies, it was possible that the youths were killed about a week ago. He said they were trying to identify the bodies.
The Dimapur SP, who visited the spot with deputy commissioner Hushili Sema last evening, said post-mortem was being conducted at Dimapur civil hospital. He said the police were clueless about the purpose and culprits behind the killings but once the post-mortem was completed, a public notice would be issued seeking help to identify the bodies.
In Karbi Anglong, the officer-in-charge of Bokajan police station, Gunaram Das, said, “We have sent the family members of the missing people and KSA delegates to Dimapur under police escort for identification of the bodies.”
“Investigation is on to find out what actually happened. A police team will go to Dimapur tomorrow,” the Assam home secretary said.
The development comes just days after Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio met his Assam counterpart Tarun Gogoi at Jorhat circuit house on December 31, seeking protection for Rengma Nagas living in Karbi Anglong following the killing of six persons of the community by suspected Karbi militants on December 27 in Bokajan subdivision of the district. Two bodies were recovered on December 30.
Several hundred Rengma Nagas have been displaced in Karbi Anglong recently because of ethnic clashes and it is feared that yesterday’s killings could be the fallout of the Karbi-Rengma Naga clashes in the district.
International Human Rights Organisation, Kohima, has condemned the atrocities meted out to Rengma Nagas by Karbi militants in Karbi Anglong, where innocent children and woman have been killed and their villages, property and crops destroyed,
The Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights, Karbi Human Rights Watch and Indigenous Women Forum of North East India have jointly appealed to all sections of Karbi and Rengma Naga communities to stop all provocation and reflect on what could have triggered the destruction of the age-old relationship between the Nagas and the Karbis.
In a joint statement issued today, the three organisations said the root of the problem might lie in the clashes between the militant groups, Karbi Peoples Liberation Tigers and the Rengma Naga Hills Protection Force, and the entire Karbi and Rengma Naga communities were not necessarily involved.
The Hills State Youth Forum, a Karbi organisation, today staged a dharna at Diphu, the district headquarters of Karbi Anglong, and blamed the administration and the police for failing to control violence in the district.
The Dimapur administration has issued an alert in the district following the recovery of the bodies.