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KCP-MC owns up to Imphal blast

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Imphal
  • Published 22.10.08
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Imphal, Oct. 22: The Kangleipak Communist Party (Military Council) this evening claimed responsibility for last night’s bomb blast near Ragailong village gate on the outskirts of Imphal where a large crowd had gathered to watch gamblers enjoy lagao, a popular dice game in Manipur.

In a statement, Lanheiba Meitei, secretary (military affairs) of the outfit, said the bomb was exploded to target police and security forces for “encouraging gambling and also for their immoral acts”.

Accusing the security forces of encouraging gambling and robbing and assaulting people whenever they lost money, the outfit warned against playing lagao in the future.

The site of the explosion was 200 metres from the 20 Assam Rifles headquarters and the Manipur police commando complex where jawans live with their families.

Manipur police are yet to find out if RDX was used in the explosion that killed 16 people and wounded more than 30. The dead included two India Reserve Battalion personnel, a surrendered militant and two students. The police scaled down the toll from 17 after a final body count at RIMS where the post-mortem was conducted.

The outfit was not the only one pointing a finger at security forces for encouraging gambling.

Residents of Ragailong and its surrounding areas, including migrant labourers and traders whose relatives died in the blast, took out a procession today to demand punishment to the killers. They said the militants targeted the gambling den because the jawans and police commandos had allowed the dice game to flourish so close to the barracks.

“Gambling began after Durga Puja. Even policemen take part in the game,” said Muruma Thaimei, president of the Zeliangrong Women’s Society, which organised the procession.

A delegation led by Thamei met the chief minister. “Ibobi Singh assured us ex gratia and punishment of the guilty persons,” she said.

“The police and security forces are to blame for the blast. How can such a thing happen so close to police quarters?” asked a protester.

The chief minister presided over a meeting this morning with senior police officials, including director-general of police, Yumnam Joykumar Singh, to review the situation. The government decided to give an ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh to the dead and Rs 50,000 to those injured.

The police decided to launch “special drives” in the city and greater Imphal areas for Diwali and Ningol chakouba. “We will launch cordon-and-search operations. We will also pay special attention to unattended vehicles and two-wheelers. Frisking and checking have been stepped up,” Joykumar Singh said.

The KCP (Military Council) was behind the powerful blast triggered inside the VIP colony of Imphal in April this year. The group also strapped a similar bomb to a rickshaw the same day near Imphal pologround. But it had been defused.

The outfit is a faction of the Kangleipak Communist Party, one of the oldest militant organisations of the state. The KCP was formed on April 13, 1980, under the leadership of Y. Ibohanbi.

Intelligence sources said the outfit’s cadres are experts in handling explosives.