The Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL, Apr 24: The parents of four purported militants who had recently `surrendered` to the Assam Rifles authorities have petitioned the Gauhati High Court, Imphal bench, seeking their release from the AR`s custody, on the grounds that they were innocent civilians who were enticed into taking part in a fake surrender ceremony with the offer of jobs in the paramilitary force.
The four were apparently among the nine `surrendered` militants who were paraded before mediapersons at Mantripukhri on March 13 this year at the 2nd anniversary observations of the establishment of the headquarters, IG, Assam Rifles (South), though under false names.
In this connection, a division bench of the Gauhati High Court has in an interim order directed the concerned authorities to hand over the four to the nearest police station at the earliest.
The court also issued notice to the state and Central governments as well as the Assam Rifles authorities, returnable by May 2, 2006.
The PRO (defence) has in the meantime clarified that no foul play was involved, and the youths in question had come voluntarily for surrendering.
According to reports received by the press, the four youths, identified as Heikrujam Gobind, 20, of Laimanai Awang Leikai, Heikrujam Lemba, 18, of Laimanai Makha Leikai, Heikrujam Ingo, 18, of Lamjao Makha Leikai and Heikrujam Momocha, 17, of Lamjao Makha Leikai, along with a fifth youth, identified as Sagolshem Gobind, 17, were lured by one Yengkhom Somananda, 28, of Laimanai Makha Leikai into participating in the surrender ceremony posing as militants.
According to the reports, Somananda, who is incidentally missing, not only promised them jobs in the Assam Rifles, but promised to allow them to participate in a three-month advance training course before recruitment.
It is also learnt that Heikrujam Gobind posed as one Thokchom Nanao, alias Nganba of the UNLF, Lemba as Yelangbam Basanta of the PREPAK, Ingo as Huidrom Ranikanta of the UNLF, and H Momocha as Thangjam Mantri of the KCP for the `surrender`.
H Gobind and S Gobind are reported to be currently staying at the 4 AR camp at Mantripukhri, while the other three are reportedly at the 37 AR camp at Leikun in Chandel district.
It is also reported that the parents of the youths were initially not allowed to meet them while in the AR`s custody. They were however allowed to meet on April 22, in the course of which the whole story emerged.
The aggrieved parents thereafter approached the Gauhati High Court with the aid of the Human Rights Law Network.
On the basis of their writ petition, a division bench of the Gauhati High Court consisting of Justice T Bishwas and Justice T Nandakumar directed the concerned authorities to hand over the youths in question to the nearest police station.
In the meantime, when contacted, the PRO (defence wing), Lt. Col Goswami, has clarified that no foul play was involved in the episode as the youths had come voluntarily for surrendering with weapons.
The PRO (defence) also said police verification as to their antecedents is underway prior to putting them in the rehabilitation camp. He also clarified that the parents of the youths were also allowed to meet them.