Seven more migrant labourers shot dead bringing death toll to 14, Local residents save many more; Curfew imposed in Imphal east and west districts

By : A Staff Reporter 3/19/2008 3:05:15 AM

IMPHAL, March 18: At least seven more non-local labourers were shot dead and two others left injured today, taking the death toll to 14 since yesterday, as the killing spree continued in the state for the second day.

Considering the tense law and order situation in the state the district authorities of Imphal east and Imphal west districts imposed curfew today in the two districts from 6 pm to 5 am effective from 7.30 pm tonight.

District authorities of the four valley districts of Imphal west, Imphal east, Thoubal and Bishenpur also imposed restrictions on the movement and gathering of people in public places under section 144 of CrPC.

Police assisted by the security forces also started keeping a watch for non-locals travelling in vehicles coming out from the Imphal city for other places.

In a series of killings of non-local labourers in Manipur since last night at least 14 persons, mostly Hindi speaking labourers, were killed and two more left with bullet injuries at different places in the state by suspected militants.

The killing of seven more non local persons took place at four separate places in the state since this morning. Five of the slain were killed at Thumbi foothill, Kangla Sangomsang, Keibi Kumuda in Imphal east district at forenoon today while the remaining two were shot dead at Kakching in Thoubal district.
Many of the non-locals picked up by the miscreants escaped death after they were rescued by the locals.

The first incident of today’s spate of killings took place at Thumbi foothill located between Nonpok Sanjenbam and Takhel under Lamlai police station this morning.

Local reports said four non-locals were transported there in a 407 mini truck and pulled down by miscreants who followed in another vehicle and shot them at around 8 am at the spot.
“They were forced to kneel down along the roadside and shot dead,” locals said.

Owing to a misfire, one of them escaped and ran away and survived as he met up with some womenfolk who protected him from the miscreants.

The identities of the dead men as well as the lone survivor could not be immediately established.

In another incident that took place at Keibi Kumuda Loushangkhong which also falls under Lamlai police station, one person was shot dead at the spot and two others were seriously wounded.

The injured were evacuated by the womenfolk of the locality to JN Hospital. The shooting took place at around 11 am.

Reports said that today at around 11 am altogether 13 non-locals labourers were picked up from Khoyathong area by a person coming on a motorcycle on the pretext of giving them work for the roofing of a building.

He transported them upto Keibi Kumuda Lousangkhong, the labourers who survived said.

The 13 non-local labourers were picked up to unload a truck loaded with sand and when they reached near Keibi Kumuda hill the truck stopped. Some unidentified persons who also came in a white Maruti van told the driver of the truck to let down the non-locals after completing the unloading of the sand from the truck.

They reportedly asked the driver of the truck to go for lifting some cement from another place along with the 13 non locals.
After reaching the area, all of them were asked to sit down and forced to take out all their belonging including money and hand it over to the miscreants.

Later, they were forced to run from the spot.
The suspected militants then started firing at them indiscriminately resulting in the death of one and severe wounding of two more. The rest escaped unhurt.

Out of the 10 persons who escaped, nine are still missing but one was saved by the local womenfolk.

The two wounded non-locals were brought up to the JN Hospital by the local womenfolk assisted by the local youths. Later, they were referred to RIMS hospital.

One of the injured labourers was identified as Shiva Patil, 40, from Bihar Pashim Champaran currently staying at Khoyathong. He was hit by two bullets, one at the right hand and the other at the left finger.

The other injured was identified as Ram Preet of Katawah, Bihar. He received four bullets, two each at the waist and chest. His condition is stated to be serious.

The only uninjured survivor who made it safe was identified as Parmaji of the same village as Ram Preet.

“Hum logo ne hath jod kar apni jindagi ki bhik mangi thi, ki ham log nirdosh hai,” (We begged for our lives, saying we were innocent) said wounded Shiva Patil while talking to journalists at the RIMS hospital.

He said the gunmen did not hear the pleas and started firing as result of which they started running for their lives into the nearby paddy fields. They were lucky they met the local people who rushed the wounded men to the hospital, they said.
In yet another shooting at Kangla Sangomsang under Lamlai police station, one labourer died and three escaped.

Reports said that the four labourers were picked up from Khongnang Ani Karak today in a 407 mini truck. They were picked up on the pretext of loading cement on the truck by some persons.

After reaching Kangla Sangomsang, the miscreants fired at them killing one of them and the others escaped unhurt.
The deceased was identified as Santosh Prashad, 25, son of Bhangavati of Gapalji district, Bihar who was staying at Majorkhul.

Among the three survivors, one is still missing and two including the elder brother of the deceased Santosh identified as Tulsi Prashad returned home. The whereabouts of Suresh Prashad who also escaped from the gunmen and ran away in an unknown direction is still unknown.

Two more non-locals were shot down at Kakching said another report received here. They were shot by suspected militants after they were brought to Kakching Khunyai near Indrani Hall about half kilometer east of Kaching police station at around 4.15 pm.

Later, the Kakching police picked up the dead from the spot around 6 pm. The bodies are being kept at the police station but the identities of the deceased are not yet ascertained, a police source said.

Meanwhile, security was beefed up in Imphal and its outskirts as an immediate measure for checking further killings of non-locals.

Apart from detailing IRBs and MR, civil police and police commandos, frisking and checking at many vulnerable areas and road junctions in both Imphal east and west districts has been intensified.

To prevent the transportation of non local labourers from the greater Imphal areas, mobile check posts have been opened at various points from this afternoon. Checking of goods carrier trucks originating from the greater Imphal areas is also on to detect any non local labourers.

In the meantime, curfew was imposed in the entire Imphal west district by an order of the district magistrate, Imphal west under section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, CrPC.
The Imphal east district magistrate was also asked to promulgate curfew, sources said, and necessary proposal from the district police had been intimated to the district magistrate late tonight.

The curfew has been imposed in Imphal west district based on the report of the police that there was likelihood of serious breach of peace, disturbance to the public tranquility and grave danger to human lives and properties in the area because of the incidents of shooting down of non-Manipuris by unknown armed militants.

Condemnation on the massacre of non-locals at various places of the state by the suspected militants are pouring in at the newspaper offices.

Terming the massacre as an unfortunate incident and strongly condemning it, the CPI(M), Manipur state committee today in a statement said that the act was not an act of humanity and it would affect the coexistence of various communities in the state.

It would also have a great impact on the tourists flow in the state amidst the hectic efforts of the state government to develop tourism.

Condemning the state government’s failure to maintain law and order in the state, it charged that the government could not protect the lives of the people.

The Janata Dal (United) also while strongly condemning the mass killings of non-local labourers urged for effective measures on the part of the UPA government at the Centre and state government for return of peace in the state. It also demanded punishment for the culprits.

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Identity of killers known, will be made public soon, says CM
By : A Staff Reporter 3/19/2008 3:02:52 AM

IMPHAL, Mar 18: The state government has established the identity of the particular underground group involved in the chain killing of non locals in the state since yesterday and massive operations are being conducted to track down the culprits, said chief minister O Ibobi Singh during an emergency press conference held this noon at his official Cabinet room.

The chief minister while terming the killing of seven innocent non local labourers and small businessmen yesterday evening at Uchiwa Heyel Hagun under Imphal police station as cowardly and barbaric, said that the state government condemned the incident in the strongest terms.

Massive search operations in the suspected areas were conducted this morning and the security personnel were able to establish the identity of the organisation involved, he said.

The chief minister further said that the state government would not spare the culprits who belong to a particular UG group operating in the state and their identities along with the organisation they belong to would be made known to the public very soon.

The chief minister said that there was no question of lapses from the security point of view and the state government had initiated immediate preventive measures from this morning in and around the greater Imphal areas giving special attention to the movement of non locals, mainly labourers and small businessmen. The state home department had also instructed all the concerned district SPs to keep vigil on the non locals’ residences in their respective districts and also asked them to issue a security alert in their respective districts to prevent further occurance of similar massacres.

Apart from this, in view of the expected retaliation from people of other states around the country, the state government had sent crash messages to the concerned chief secretaries and DGPs of the states to take special care of the people from Manipur in their states.

The chief minister further said that because of the increasing violence and disturbance of law and order the state government had decided to set up 24 permanent security check posts in and around the greater imphal area to provide 24 hour security.
The posts would be activated following the passing out of personnel of the 5th and 6th IRB batallions which will take place in the first week of April.

For the successful implementation of this plan the state home department had already procured 100 numbers of Maruti Gypsies, 150 numbers of Royal Enfield motorcycles and another 50 numbers of vehicles would be procured in the near future.

He further said that the state government was very concerned over the killing of non locals by the underground groups and would take stern action against them along with any person, whether MLAs or ministers, who were found to be in nexus with them.

Regarding the queries by mediapersons during the press conference over government action against some of the MLAs who gave shelter to UGs at their official quarters and against whom cases have been registered, the chief minister replied that enquiries were being conducted and neccesary action would be taken against them if they were found guilty after the enquiry.

The chief minister also affirmed that the state government had taken a decision to take serious action against any official, MLA or minister found to collude with the UGs by withdrawing their escorts. Any other individual also who happens to keep relations with the UGs would face similar consequences, he said.

The chief minister said that the concerned police stations had been instructed to take special security measures in areas where there was permanent settlement of non locals in greater Imphal and other districts, and also assured help to the families of the victims by the state government. Every necessity for performing the last rites of those killed would also be given, the chief minister assured.

The Imphal Free Press

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About Zou Sangnaupang Pawlpi Delhi

Zou Students' Association Delhi Branch
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