Fake encounter, cry victims' families
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- Published 9.09.09
Imphal, Sept. 9: Manipur police commandos are in the eye of a storm once again after gunning down six persons, four of whom have been identified and are said to be innocent.
The incident took place last night in Imphal West district as protests continued to singe the state over the alleged July 23 fake encounter.
Yesterday’s was the first strike by commandos of Imphal West after the July 23 incident in which Rabina Devi and Ch. Sanjit were killed in Imphal city.
The police shot dead six persons — two riding a motorcycle and four others in a Tata Sumo — at Awang Khunou Lamkhai along National Highway 53 in Imphal West around 10.30pm.
Four of them were identified as Ngaseppam Danny, 27, a resident of Khwairakpam Leikai, his friend Kshetrimayum Govind, 28, of neighbouring Hodam Leirak in Imphal West, Md Tomba, 35, and Md Rahman, 38, both residents of Golapati in Imphal East.
Families claimed Danny and Govind were mobile recharge card hawkers, Tomba a rickshawpuller and Rahman a Tata Sumo driver. While Danny and Govind were coming on a motorcycle the other four were found dead inside a Tata Sumo.
The bodies of two, who are yet to be identified, have been kept at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences here.
The police are maintaining silence over the incident. Patsoi police station told the family members that they were killed in an encounter with police commandos.
The families quoted the police as saying the two motorcycle-borne youths fired at a police team in the area and in retaliation the two youths were killed. Four others were found dead inside a Tata Sumo nearby in the follow-up search by the police. The commandos also claimed to have recovered an M16 rifle with 62 live rounds and three 9mm pistols from them.
Residents of Hodam Leirak and Kwairakpam Leikai held a meeting, formed a joint action committee to take up the matter with the government and demanded a judicial inquiry.
Bilashini Devi, mother of Govind, and Chaoba Devi, mother of Danny, said the two went out together on Govind’s motorcycle last evening to collect money from people to whom they had sold recharge cards. “My son is innocent and had no link with any outfit. It was a fake encounter. I want justice,” Chaoba Devi cried.
The committee is planning to take up the matter with local MLA L. Jayentakumar Singh, who is also the education minister. They will then petition chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh. “We will not accept the bodies until the demands are met,” Salam Sarat, president of Hodam Lairembi Club, said.
Residents of Awang Khunou also staged a sit-in at the site of the killing today to protest the incident. “We heard gunshots around 10.30 last night. No one went out in fear. The six were killed in the same place and we suspect that it was a fake encounter. Shots were also fired at some of the houses,” N. Mani Singh, president of Awang Khunou Sporting and Youth Organisation, said.
Apunba Lup said the six were killed in fake encounters.
Meena Rashi, wife of Tomba, said her husband told her over the mobile phone around 9pm that unknown persons caught him while he was delivering firewood at the Games Village of Imphal West. “When I called him again around 10.30pm, the phone was switched off,” she said.
The All Manipur Rickshaw Drivers and Pullers Welfare Association president, A.K. Kom, said the association would chalk out the agitation course. Kom claimed Tomba was innocent.
The incident came as Apunba Lup was spearheading a campaign against the July 23 Imphal city killing of Rabina Devi and Sanjit.
The Kuki community also erupted in protest against the killing of four cadres of the Kuki Liberation Army, a militant group having a suspension of operation agreement with the security forces and the killing of a truck driver by the army in the Litan area of Ukhrul on Monday.
“We are asking the government how the killings took place. If it failed to tell us, we will launch an extreme form of agitation. It was a fake encounter,” Hangkholun Helun, president of Kuki Students Organisation, Ukhrul unit, warned.