Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

Demands for justice in Athuan Abonmai kidnap and murder case intensifies

NIA to Probe into Athuan Abonmai Murder Case; Myanmar Nationals With Fake Aadhaar Cards Held; Centre Okays Loktak Tourism plan

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on September 30 issued an order directing the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe into the case of killing of Athuan Abonmai, advisor and former President of Zeliangrong Baudi (Assam-Manipur-Nagaland: AMN) on September 22 after he was kidnapped at about 11:30 am on the same day from near Pologround of Tamenglong Head Quarter in front of the security personnel.

The order issued by the MHA stated that the Centre has received the information regarding registration of an FIR on September 22 at Lamphel Police Station, Imphal West, Manipur under sections 365, 400 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, relating to kidnapping/abduction of Athuan Abonmai, allegedly by cadres of NSCN (I-M) on September 22 at 11.30 am from Tamenglong HQ Pologround.

The order stated that the case was later transferred to Tamenglong Police Station on the same day, September 22 as the place of occurrence was under the jurisdiction of Tamenglong police station and section 302 and 307 of the Indian Penal Code have been added in the case as Athuan Abonmai was found dead near Pallong village under Tamei Sub division.

Section 16/17 and 20 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 are also added in the case as the accused persons and their associates, being members of “terrorist gangs”, are raising funds for terror activities and disturbing the peace and tranquillity of the state, the order added.

Upon initial inquiry, it was also revealed that the accused persons involved in the case are suspected members of NSCN (IM). Therefore, sections 16. 17 and 20 of UA(P) Act, 1967 have also been added in the instant case, stated the order.

The Centre is of the opinion that a Scheduled Offence under the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, has been committed. And, having regard to the gravity of the offence and to unearth the full conspiracy hatched by the accused, it is required to be investigated by the NIA in accordance with the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008.

Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred under sub-section (4) of section 6 read with section 8 of the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, the Central Government hereby directs the National Investigation Agency to take up investigation of the aforesaid case, stated the order.

Meanwhile, a release issued by the Special Secretary (Home) Manipur on October 1 stated that as proposed by the DGP Manipur, state home department on September 25 and 26 sent all the relevant documents to the Ministry of Home Affairs with a request to issue necessary orders for investigation into the FIR regarding the abduction and murder of Athuan Abonmai, by the National Investigation Agency.

It may be mentioned that sit in protests were staged at different locations on October 1 under the aegis of the Joint Action Committee Against the Brutal Killing of Athuan Abonmai.  The JAC on September 30 also announced a 24-hour state-wide total shutdown (bandh) from October 3 midnight till October 4 midnight.

Global Naga Forum Denounces Athuan Murder

The Global Naga Forum on September 26 in a release stated that it denounces the murder of Athuan Abonmai in the strongest possible terms.

The release stated that cruelty and violence to this degree is unnatural and the incident is an intolerable abomination.

“We say this not just as Naga men and women belonging to different tribes, professions, and age-groups from all the regions of the Naga homeland and overseas, but as decent human beings in solidarity with decent people of good will from around the world,” the release added.

The murder of Athuan Abonmai and others like it debases our common humanity; they make animals of us all. They dehumanise not just the victims who are treated like animals but the perpetrators too, who turn themselves into animals by acting with such wanton cruelty, it mentioned.

The release continued that the Naga people’s long struggle for freedom and self-determination has experienced disagreements, divisions, and tragic enmities.

GNF firmly believes it is time to start resolving the problems through non-violent negotiations and peaceful processes of healing, the release stated.

The Forum mourns the death of Ino Athuan and empathises with his family and pray that his dear wife and children, parents, and relatives may find solace in the grace and healing power beyond what the world can give, the release expressed.

Two Suspects in Athuan Killing Arrested
Two suspects in Athuan murder in police custody

Two persons suspected to be the prime accused in the killing of Athuan Abonmai, advisor and former president of Zeliangrong Baudi (AMN), were arrested on September 27. The two accused have been remanded in nine-day police custody for smooth investigation till October 6 by the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Tamenglong on September 28.

Reports said Ponthanlung Panmei also known as Paul, 47, son of Langai Panmei of Konthoujam Maning Tribal Colony and Lanchapou Bosco Gonmei, 48, son of late Gaikhangsingpou Gonmei of Langol Laimanai, suspected to be prime accused in the murder case were arrested by a team of CDO, Imphal West on September 27 and they were handed over to the Tamenglong police station.

It may be mentioned that Lamphel Police Station in Imphal West had registered an FIR on September 22, following a complaint lodged by Arai Abonmai son of Athuan Abonmai of Machengluang Lamlaba of Tamenglong district now staying at Tarung Grace Colony that his father had been abducted the same day at 11.30 am allegedly by NSCN (I-M) cadres from Pologround, Tamenglong HQ.

The case was transferred from Lamphel Police Station to Tamenglong Police Station as the incident took place under Tamenglong Police Station. The Tamenglong Police Station registering an FIR under section 365/400/34 IPC has produced the two accused before the CJM, Tamenglong with a plea for 15-day police custody on September 28.

Meanwhile Meira Paibis of Langol Laimanai held a sit-in protest on October 29 against the arrest of Lanchapou Bosco Gonmei of Langol Laimanai allegedly on mere suspicion of involvement in the murder of Athuan Abonmai which took place in Tamenglong district on September 22.

Reports said that Bosco was not the person who killed Athuan Abonmai. He was picked up from his home at Langol Laimanai and it was witnessed by many people of Langol.

“Bosco should be released without any conditions or else strong agitations will be launched; Arrest the real culprits, not dummies. Do not play games to fool the people,” the protesters stated.

CSOs Demand Arrest of Real Culprits in Athuan case
A public protest in Imphal demanding arrest of Athuan murderers

Several civil society organisations and communities continue to protest against the brutal killing of Athuan Abonmai, advisor and former president of Zeliangrong Baudi (AMN).

A sit-in protest was also held on September 29 at Keishampat Leimajam Leikai Community hall jointly organised by AMKIL, NUPI Samaj, Tammi Chingmi, EECHAL, Thoubal Ema, ANUL, NIMPAL, Nongpok Leingak, UPF, NIPCO, CADA, MAPI COUNCIL, AMSU and AMPFA in collaboration with the JAC Against the Brutal Murder of Athuan Abonmai.

Reports said during the protest, AMKIL president Lourembam Nganbi warned both the Central and state government of unwanted consequences unless justice is delivered and raised suspicions of an alleged conspiracy by those in power in collusion with NSCN (I-M) concerning the murder.

If governments intend to kill those who talk and stand for a united Manipur and those who spread the message of all Manipuris as one, then the mothers of Manipur will come forward, Nganbi said.

Moreover, various civil organisations of Manipur offered a ‘candle light tribute’ to late Athuan Abonmai at Haipou Jadonang Park, Keishampat Imphal on September 27.

The members of the organisations comprising of International Peace and Social Advancement, All Club Organisation Association and Meira Paibi Lup, People Action for National Democratic Movement, Indigenous People’s Association of Kangleipak, KANGLAMEI, Kangleipak Students Association and Kanglei Ima Lup held banner which read, ‘justice for Athuan Abonmai, messiah of peace and unity, candle light tribute and protest against the inhumane assassination of Oja Athuan Abonmai’.

14 Myanmar Nationals With Fake Aadhaar Cards Held
The arrested Myanmar nationals

At least 14 Myanmar nationals who attempted to board an Indigo flight from Imphal International Airport, Imphal by using fake Aadhaar cards were caught by airport security personnel and handed them over to Singjamei Police Station at around 2.20 pm on September 30.

According to reports, Indigo staff detected the fake Aadhaar cards as the passengers were about to board the Indigo Flight No 6E-2209 that was scheduled to depart for Delhi from Imphal.

Reports said that the 14 Myanmar nationals have been identified as Tungbiakmung, 18, of Suangchoih Village, Myanmar; Ciin Deih Sang, 21, of Sezang Village, Myanmar; Gin Za Tuang, 21, of Guasing Village, Myanmar; Tuang Nang Suan, 16, of Guasing Village, Myanmar; Vum Tual Suan, 24, of Sezang Village, Myanmar; Zarnsuanpau, 35, of Khosak Village, Myanmar; Khupbiakthang, 16, of Suangzang Village, Myanmar; Nang Suan Lian, 20, of Guasing Village, Myanmar; Do Mun Zau, 19, of Guasing Village, Myanmar; Sing Cin, 22, of Guasing Village, Myanmar; Gin Khup Pau, 20, of Guasing Village, Myanmar; Pau Za Lian, 20, of Guasing Village, Myanmar; Vum Tung Nung, 20, of Guasing Village, Myanmar and Pau Cin Khai, 16, of Guasing Village, Myanmar.

After the Indigo staff alerted the in-charge of Foreigners Check Post (FCP) Imphal Airport, the Myanmar nationals were detained and handed over to Singjamei Police Station for further legal action, reports added.

Centre Approves Rs. 1,350 Crore to Develop Loktak

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh on the occasion of World Tourism Day on September 27 said that the state is ready to welcome all tourists and called upon all to promote the beauty of India.

“As we observe the #WorldTourismDay with the theme “Tourism for Inclusive Growth,” let us come together to promote the beauty of our country which will also drive prosperity among the people in every society. Manipur is ready to welcome every tourist with an open arm,” Biren tweeted.

Meanwhile, Manipur Tourism Minister Oinam Lukhoi on said the Centre has given its approval, in principle, to sanction Rs 1,350 crore for the development of Loktak Lake into a world-class tourist destination.

He was speaking as the chief guest during the celebration of the World Tourism Day, 2021 held at the Ramrei Eco-Tourism Park, Ramrei Village in Kamjong district.

Once the development work is completed, Loktak Lake will be a hot-spot for the tourist from all over the globe, as it is the destination to one and only floating national park in the world, said the minister.

He informed that the average number of international tourists visiting the state is around 2,000-3000 per month and domestic tourists around 12,000 per month, report added.

Five DESAM Leaders Sent to Jail

The court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West on September 27 remanded five office bearers of Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur (DESAM) in 15-day judicial custody till October 11 while principal and vice-principal of NB College, Khundrakpam were released on bail by furnishing PR bond RS 50,000 each in connection with an assault case.

Reports said that Singjamei police arrested five bearers of DESAM along with NB College principal Ng Ekashini and vice-principal I Kunjabati in connection with an assault on NB College teacher Ningombam Shitaljit on September 21.

The five DESAM executives are Oinam Sital, Mayengbam Somorjit Meitei, Meisnam Anantaraj, Kangabam Amardeep, Thoithoiba Nongthombam.

The court has remanded them in judicial custody after hearing and examining the facts and materials placed before the court that there exists prima facie materials which suggest that they conspired and physically assaulted the victim by calling him to their office.

However, the court order stated that the main accused Birjit, finance secretary of DESAM, is still at large.

The court also observed that some office bearers of a civil organisations or students organisation seems to be taking law into their hands and involved in mediating or passing judgment on matters for which courts were created for. These organisations seem to act as if they are the judge and also the executioner, the court stated.

Considering two women who are principal and vice-principal of the college, the court opined that the existing materials suggest that they are an interested party in the whole affair which led to the incident.

The court further stated that, however, no material exists to suggest that they were involved in the physical assault of the victim. Further, they are all women and are of old age, ageing over 58 and therefore, the court found it proper to consider releasing them on bail.

However, the court released them with conditions that they should make themselves available for interrogation by the investigating officer when required; they should not commit any offence in the future; not leave the state without prior permission of the court and not temper or threaten the witness or the complainant.

It may be mentioned that Shitaljit was assaulted by DESAM members at its office located at Kwakeithel on September 21. He was intimidated and assaulted allegedly by finance secretary of DESAM Th Birjit with attempt on his life and wrongfully confined him allegedly in the presence of Ng Ekashini Devi and I Kunjarani Devi and office bearers of DESAM at its head office. A case was registered under section 307/325/120-B IPC in connection with the incident, reports added.

Two Moreh Brothers Killed in WW-II Bomb Explosion
Two WWII bombs that exploded at Moreh

In a tragic incident, two brothers lost their lives after a World War II Bomb exploded in their backyard at Moreh, Tengnoupal, Manipur on September 29.

Reports said the deceased have been identified as one Lalsangmuon Gangte, 23 years, and Lenkhogin Gangte, 21 years. Both were sons of late Thangminlen Gangte and Late Lhingneineilam Gangte of Gangte Veng, Moreh Ward No 9.

The incident took place at Gangte Veng, Moreh Ward No 9 around 4 pm on September 29 when the two brothers, working in the backyard of their house, accidentally hit a World War II bomb with a spade. The bomb exploded and the two brothers died on the spot, reports added.

It may be recalled that on November 17, 2020, 122 shells of unexploded WW-II era bombs were unearthed at the same place while levelling the land for house construction.

Rs. 4 cr demonetised Notes Seized, Two Arrested

Manipur’s Thoubal district police seized fake Indian currency notes worth around Rs 4 crore and arrested two persons in connection with the incident.

Reports said the fake notes in the denomination of demonetised Rs 1,000 were seized during an operation launched by the joint police team of Thoubal district police on September 30 morning led by Superintendent of Police, Jogeschandra Haobijam and assisted by additional SP (ops) Sachidananda Soibam, Inspector N Tikendra Meetei OC commando Thoubal among others.

Reports said in the wee hour, the police received reliable information about manufacturing of fake Indian Currency notes at Wangkhem area which falls under the jurisdiction of Imphal East district.

The joint team reportedly came across a locked hut situated at Keirao Khuman Lok suspected to be hiding some bundles of fake Indian currency notes. Subsequently, the owner of the hut, identified as Chungkham Dewan, 50, son of Ch Jugindro of Keirao Wangkhem was identified, who on questioning disclosed about the fake notes hidden inside the hut.

Based on the disclosure of Dewan that the binding and packing was done along with one Chingakham Surchandra, 40, son of Ch Deben of Keirao Wangkhem, Ngarian Chingkhong Leikai, and he was also arrested by the police.

The accused reportedly disclosed to the police that the fake notes were handed over to them by one Tony of Keirao along with his nephew Arun of Waithou Thiyam Leikai, reports added.

“As per preliminary findings we have established to know that money was meant for exchange with new bills. We have registered a case for further investigation into the case,” the SP said.

Security Guards of Manipur BJP President Succumbs at Hospital

The security guard of Manipur Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president A Sharda, who was allegedly shot at by other security personnel, succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Imphal on October 1.

Reports said rifleman A Bimol was rushed to Raj Medicity Hospital in Imphal after he was shot at while on duty as security guard at the residence of the state BJP president in Imphal East allegedly by another rifleman on October 1. However, he succumbed to his injuries at 6.30 pm after being admitted in the hospital.

The incident reportedly took place in a drunken brawl at around 10 am on October 1 and A Bimol, 7th MR Rifleman (No 9772), of Kongba Naharup was shot in the face allegedly using an AK-47 rifle by another rifleman (No 132001578) Thonginthang Baite of Litan in Ukhrul district.

There are a total of 16 7th MR personnel working as house guards at the residence of BJP state president A Sharda Devi, Brahmapur Aribam Leikai, Imphal. However, there were 13 personnel stationed at the house when the incident took place, reports added.

Following the incident, all the security personnel, including Thonginthang Baite, were picked up by Porompat Police. A team from the State Forensics Science Laboratory also arrived and conducted a crime scene examination, reports added.

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