By : A Staff Reporter 11/27/2007 12:54:52 AM
IMPHAL, Nov 26: The Deputy Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, Th Shyamkumar Singh escaped a deadly attack by militants unhurt on Monday, while two security personnel escorting him and a civilian driver were wounded.
The ambush took place this morning in between Oksu and Ningthemcha Khul under Lamlai police station at around 10:45 am. The deputy Speaker, along with his security escort were heading towards his home village of Itham Moirangpurel in five vehicles for a Mapam Chakouba.
“It was an act of terrorists and anti national elements,” said Shyamkumar who contested and won the Assembly election held in February, 2007 from Tihar jail. Shyamkumar had been jailed after his arrest by the Delhi Police in September 2006 from the Indira Gandhi International Airport along with two senior members of the banned United National Liberation Front, UNLF while the trio were about to leave for Kathmandu.
The unidentified attackers initially triggered off an IED planted at a wooden bridge located between Oksu and Ningthemcha Khul targeted on the last escort vehicle, which badly damaged the vehicle, caused injury to two of the IRB personnel as well as the driver.
The convoy was thereafter attacked with gunfire from the surrounding hillside. The IRB personnel retaliated, resulting in an encounter that lasted over 20 minutes.
“I was dragged down from the vehicle into the drainage on the road by my escort and made to lie down on the ground. They then opened fire towards the attackers in retaliation, said Shymakumar, while visiting the injured personnel at JN hospital.
Sources also said the BSF personnel were deployed on the road on ROP duty, but the VIP convoy had driven ahead of the patrol and the blast took place at a spot that had not been covered by the ROP.
Shyamkumar meanwhile lamented that the BSF personnel did not come to his escort personnel’s assistance, even though they were asked to use their sophisticated weapons against the escaping attackers.
“I myself asked them to shoot back but they didn’t respond. I strongly condemn the attitude of the BSF,” Shyamkumar said. But he thanked the police commando unit of Imphal east district for their quick response to his call informing of the incident over phone.
The injured personnel were evacuated to JN hospital this morning, and are identified as Havildar Koratrung Rongmei of Zeluki, Nagaland, riflemen Md Wajiruddin, 24, of Lilong Haaorebi and driver fo the Gypsy, MN1K-1700, Toulem Shyam Kom, 35, of Tonsen village, Sugnu, a civilian driver posted at the Assembly secretariat.
The three were not hurt directly by the bomb, but sustained injuries when their Gypsy overturned due to the impact of the blast.
They belonged to an additional IRB escort team of five personnel that had been provided to Shyamkumar today because of his trip to his home constituency.
When asked, the deputy Speaker clarified that none of the underground organisations had given any prior threat to him. Police were clueless as yet over which militant group was responsible for the attack.
The Development Committee, Andro Kendra, and the National Sports and Education Centre, Yairipok, have meanwhile issued statements strongly condemning the ambush upon the deputy Speaker.
The two organisations also urged that such incidents should not be repeated and demanded the group responsible for the attack should clarify their reasons.
Political drama likely to come to an end in a day or two
By : A Staff Reporter 11/27/2007 12:53:28 AM
IMPHAL, Nov 26: A resolution one way or the other to the ongoing leadership crisis in the state Congress may come within days, with all signs indicating decisive steps soon from the Congress High Command in this regard.
Rebel MLA DD Thaisii, along with Rajya Sabha MP Rishang Keishing were given an audience with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh this evening while MPCC chief Gaikhangam has reportedly been summoned to appear before AICC president Sonia Gandhi tomorrow.
Senior man in the O Ibobi Singh Cabinet revenue minister, Th Debendra also left Imphal for New Delhi today, summoned, according to some sources, by the Congress High Command.
It may be mentioned, the rebel MLAs had been projecting Debendra as a possible alternative to chief minister O Ibobi Singh. Debendra himself has been non-commital on this score, however and he had been staying in Imphal the whole time that the rebels have been camping in Delhi.
The rebels and their supporters have attributed high significance to the sudden trip of the Delhi. This is an important turning point in the ongoing crisis among the Congress MLAs, sources in the MPCC told IFP.
Y Surchandra, spokesperson of the rebels, also said they expect to succeed soon in their campaign to oust O Ibobi Singh, with their projected leader arriving in Delhi.
While disclosing that Debendra would be arriving in Delhi late tonight, he said, Debendra may be expected to hold a series of meetings with Central Congress leaders on the ongoing crisis in the state Congress.
Sources also disclosed that MLA DD Thaisii and Rajya Sabha MP Rishang Keishing met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at 12:35 pm.
Though details of the meeting were not immediately available, it is reliably learnt that MPCC chief Gaikhangam has been summoned to meet with Sonia Gandhi tomorrow.
In the meantime, state FCS minister Y Erabot, who is one of the hard core dissidents, also left Imphal for New Delhi today. He is expected to convey news of developments in the state to his fellow rebels.
Be specific in pointing out govt’s misdeeds: Ibobi
By : A Staff Reporter 11/27/2007 12:52:36 AM
IMPHAL, Nov 26: Raising arbitrary allegations that the government is not able to execute and finish central-sponsored schemes on time is similar to childish talks. Be specific and point out the misdeeds of the government clearly. We will set our house in order.
Responding to the allegations made by the dissident camp, chief minister Okam Ibobi today said, “Instead of alleging that government has siphoned off development fund and that the government is not able to take up central-sponsored schemes, be specific and point out the project or scheme where the government is failing. The SPF government will not waste time in unfounded arguments. Rather we want to concentrate on development projects to make a developed Manipur.”
Highlighting the various development projects that the government is planning to complete by March 2008, the CM said, “Concerned department should gear up the various bridge construction projects under NLCPR in Imphal so that these can be ready by March 2008.”
The chief minister told the respective minister and engineers to finish the infrastructural projects on time bound manner.
These observations were made by the CM while inaugurating the Irilbung bridge today. The guest of honour of the inauguration function, MOBC and Rural Development Minister Md Allaudin Khan said that all the IVR (inter village roads) in Keirao A/C will be black-topped by the 2008-09 financial year.
Works Minister S Ranjit who presided over the function said that his department is taking up the black topping of the Imphal-Yairipok road. He appealed the public to cooperate in the work.
Giving the keynote address, PWD chief engineer Y Rashtrapati called the Irilbung Bridge “the most unfortunate bridge in the history of PWD”. He said that though the work programme for this bridge was included in 1989 work order, it took 18 years to complete this bridge due to various disturbances. The cost of the 78 metre long bridge is Rs 206 lakhs.
The chief minister also inaugurated the water supply scheme at Irilbung. In his speech, the CM observed that with the completion of the five water supply augmentation projects, 60-70% of the drinking water requirement in Imphal will be fulfilled.
He pointed out that unlike earlier times when there was dearth of funds, the present problem is that of utilization. He said, “Now we are facing a new problem where we have fund but unable to utilize on time. If work is done properly and timely by submitting utilization certificates, there is no dearth of fund.”
Commenting on the present trend of threats and hurdles in executing development projects the CM said, “This trend has to end someday. People should collectively voice against undue and unwarranted interferences in the works taken up for their welfare.”
PHED Minister TN Haokip was the president of the inauguration function. Works minister S Ranjit, MOBC and rural development minister Md Allaudin Khan, education minister L Jayentakumar, social welfare minister N Loken, PDA chairman Kh Loken and MLA Th Lokeshore also attended the function as guests of honour.
Constructed by the PHED under the funding of NLCPR, this scheme will augment the water supply for Imphal city phase-I. The treatment plant having 6.81 MLD capacity was started in 2003 at the cost of Rs 816.60 lakhs. It will cover the Irilbung, Bamon Kampu, Uchekon, Wangkhei and Kongba areas including the Bamon Leikai and Khongman zonal reservoirs.
Twin bandhs disrupt traffic
By : A Staff Reporter 11/27/2007 12:50:53 AM
IMPHAL, Nov 26: Traffic movement was paralyzed Monday along the two highways, Uripok Kangchup road and Mayai Lambi road owing to the bandhs called on different issues. The bandhs however concluded peacefully.
The Kangchup road bandh was called by the JAC against the killing of Angom Brajamani, in association with the Working Committee of the Apunba Lup denouncing the killing of Brajamani by state police commandos in an alleged encounter on November 18 last at Khoyathong.
The bandh along the Mayai Lambi, on the other hand, was called to protest the brutal murder of a college lecturer Wahengbam Ibochou, alias Janeswore, of Wangoi Wahengbam Leikai by unknowns.
In both the bandhs protestors turned out on the streets and enforced the bandh by blocking the roads. They forced to turn back people entering the roads from other roads at different portions along the stretch of road.
Local markets along these two routes were deserted. Passenger service vehicles and others were also off the road for the day.
The bandh along the Kangchup road which began from 4 am and went on till 5 pm was relaxed for the school going students and essential services.
The bandh along the Mayai Lambi road was called by the JAC formed against the murder against the failure on the part of the state government to convert into action their demands.
The JAC is demanding booking of the culprits responsible on or before November 25, and payment of ex-gratia to the family of the teacher of the Pravabati College, Mayang Imphal to the tune of Rs. 3 lakhs.
Source: The Imphal Free Press