The Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL, Apr 25: Assam Rifles, in the wee hours today, gunned down four persons at Nungei Khunou Khongbal under Thoubal police station. AR claimed all the slain youths were hardcore KCP cadres while locals said out of the four, two are civilians.
The Assam Rifles also claimed recovery of one Beretta Italian pistol, one Mauser pistol, ammunition and magazines along with a Maruti van said to be used by the slain cadres.
In the meantime, residents of Thoubal Kiyam Siphai took to the street and blocked the Indo-Myanmar road (NH-39) at Thoubal claiming that two of the four were civilians who were abducted by gunmen last night. Traffic along this road was disrupted from around 12 noon to 2 pm. The Tanjeng bazaar also remained closed during the blockade.
A statement issued by the PRO, HQ, IGAR (South) stated that last night following specific information about the movement of armed KCP cadres in and around Nungei village, troops of 32 Assam Rifles established a mobile check post there. At around 1 am today one Maruti van bearing registration no. MN-04-8186 was seen speeding towards the check post.
When signaled to stop, the UGs took a detour and the AR troops gave chase. When the AR troops were about to reach the fleeing vehilce, the UGs got down and started firing, said the statement. In the retaliatory fire from the AR side, all the four occupants of the vehicle were killed.
All the dead bodies were collected from the spot and handed over to the Lilong police with the recovered items, the statement stated.
The two deceased youths who were said to be civilians were Laishram Santosh, 25, son of L Biren Singh and Thingujam Chanchal Singh, 22, son of Th Manibabu Singh. Both are hailing from Thoubal Kiyam Makha Leikai.
The other two, said to be cadres of KCP were also later identified as Aribam Trishul Sharma, 21, son of late A Tomba Sharma of Kiyam Siphai and Md. Lukman, 20, son of Md Naori Tomba of Leigoiching Thoubal. Local sources said Trishul was probably a KCP cadre. AR also claimed he was a self styled area commander of the outfit. However, specifics about Lukman could not ascertained at the time of filling this report.
All the dead bodies are still lying at RIMS morgue as their respective families are yet to claim the bodies.
Local sources said that deceased Santosh and Chanchal were picked up by Trishul while watching a volley ball match at Thoubal Kiyam. The family came to know of the deaths of their sons when police informed them .
In connection with the killing of the two youths the people of Kiyam Siphai converged to a public ground there to hold a public meeting. The meeting formed a JAC against the killing of Th Chanchal and L Santosh and resolved to launch various agitations against the killing of innocents.
In accordance with the resolution, people took to the streets at Tangjeng bazaar and blockaded the road. The blockade was called off at around 2 pm after local MLA, Dr. Nimaichand Luwang convinced the agitating people to help them in pressurizing the government to fulfill their demands.
Spokesperson said that the JAC will ask the state government to punish the AR personnel involved in the killing of the two innocents. It will also demand payment of adequate ex-gratia to the victim`s family. A memorandum making out all these demands will be submitted to the state chief minister.
On the other hand, the maruti van involved in the incident and recovered by the AR was reportedly hijacked by the four gunmen yesterday at around 10.30 am from the house of the owner identified as Leishangthem Bimolchand Singh of Thoubal Nongdangkhong.
While taking way the vehicle, the gunmen also fired two rounds in the air, another report said.