IMPHAL, Jan 5: New Year, 2011 began on bloody note with two Assam Rifles sepoys killed in an ambush staged by armed PLA cadres and a Gram Panchayat member was shot dead by Imphal West District Police Commandos during a reported encounter on January 1.
Three police commandos who are allegedly involved in the killing of the Gram Panchayat member have been subsequently suspended from service. An order to this effect has been issued. The first ambush took place near Sorde village under Phungyar sub-division in Ukhrul district in the afternoon of January 1.
Cadres of PLA, the army wing of RPF, who were armed with sophisticated weapons, laid the ambush on troops of 12 Assam Rifles who were on patrol duty. The ambush led to exchange of heavy firing from both sides. At least two Assam Rifles sepoys namely PC Naik of Orissa and Lalrinmawia of Mizoram were killed in the PLA attack.
On the other hand, a Gram Panchayat member was shot dead by Imphal West District Police Commandos during an alleged encounter at Hayel Labuk under Thoubal district at around 5.20 pm of January 1.
Based on specific information on the presence of UGs in the area, the commandos were conducting a search operation when they were fired upon. One commando personnel sustained injuries in the attack and one UG suspect was killed in the retaliatory firing while the two other suspects managed to escape. However, when the villagers came to know that the slain alleged UG suspect was none other than one Ningthoukhongjam Binodkumar alias Inao (35), who was an elected member of Gram Panchayat from Khangabok Part-I ward no. 7, they revolted and launched agitation. When a media team reached Khangabok Bazar, the agitators were found blocking the National Highway 39. They also asserted that Binodkumar alias Inao was killed after being picked up by the Commandos.
The agitators informed that the police commandos have come to the house of Binodkumar at around 4.30 pm on December 31. At that time, Binodkumar was taking an afternoon nap. But the commandos dragged him out from the bed and took him inside a neighbouring house. Not long after that gun shots were heard. The alleged site where the police claimed that the encounter took place appeared more like a place for carousing and the same had also been witnessed the local MLA Okram Ongbi Landhoni the following day. The representatives of the JAC formed in protest against the killing met the Chief Minister on January 2. With the Chief Minister assuring that a suitable Government job would be provided to one of family members after from ex-gratia payment and a magisterial inquiry would be instituted to investigate into the incident, the agitators decided to lift the road block and the body of Binodkumar was taken back.
Meanwhile, three police commandos who were allegedly involved in the killing have been placed under suspension by an order of the Government.