IMPHAL, Jun 9 : At least six persons including a child of three and a Class IX student were injured when unidentified gunmen opened fire including lethode bombs near the UCO Bank located at Bishnupur bazar today at about 2.45 pm.
Though it is not yet clear who the gunmen were targeting or what prompted them to open fire, the driver of a bus, plying on the Imphal Thanga route said that while he was slowing the vehicle down to pick up passengers from Bishnupur bazar, he saw the armed persons opening fire near the bank.
The front windscreen of the bus as well as the side view mirror were damaged in the incident, said the driver.
The Class IX student who was injured in the incident was travelling in his bus, said the driver. Thanking providence, the driver said that if the bus had been crowded and if any passengers were standing then more would have been injured.
The injured student has been identified as Oinam Sumanjit (15) of Nachou Mamang Leikai who suffered bullet injuries on the head.
Sumanjit has been admitted to Shija Hospitals, where his condition is stated to be critical, said hospital sources.
The driver further said that he saw a bullet proof Gypsy of police commandos parked somewhere in front of the bus at the time of the incident.
According to the police the armed persons came in a Maruti van and started opening fire near the bank injuring six persons including the minor as well as the student.
The student who suffered bullet injuries on the head has been admitted to Shija Hospitals and his condition is stated to be critical. He is a student of Yangoi Ningthou Higher Secondary School.
The lethode bomb reportedly fired by the gunmen landed at the back yard of one Chingakham Santosh at Bishnupur Ward number IV injuring his three and a half year old daughter.
Fortunately the injury was not serious and the girl child was discharged after first aid.
A marriage party coming in a Bolero from Lamlai and heading towards Tera Khongshangbi was also caught in the firing incident in which three of them were injured.
The injured have been identified as Moirangthem Umu (42) of Lamlai, Nongmaithem Radharani (67) of Moirang Kampu and Naorem Shobapati Devi (37) of Singjamei Naorem Leikai.
A 35 year old man, Thoupao of Bishnupur Thanil village also suffered splinter injuries on his left elbow.
Another lethode bomb also exploded at Bishnupur Ward number 8, but there is no report of any casualty here. Police have recovered a Maruti van suspected to have been used by the gunmen from Toubul Mamang Patton in the follow up action.
Soon after the incident, Bishnupur bazar resembled a ghost town with no one venturing out and the market closing for the day.
Para-military force and the district police commandos conducted search operations and frisked all passers by.
Meanwhile the All Manipur Students’ Union has come out strongly against the Bishnupur firing.
In a statement, the student body said that opening fire in such crowded places and using explosives is ample testimony that the gunmen did not care for the safety of the public and added that a Class IX student as well as three year old child were injured in the incident.
Asserting that AMSU can no longer tolerate such incidents, the student body also claimed that this was not the first time that the security forces have opened random firing in public places. It also demanded that the Government take up befitting action against all the guilty.
Source; The Sangai Express