Demand to release five village defenders grows louder, more stringent

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Sep 18: Families of all the five village defenders who have been arrested by Imphal East district police have appealed to the authorities concerned to release them at the earliest without any condition.
Speaking to media persons at Manipur Press Club here this afternoon, Loukrakpam Gojen of Khurai Ahongei said that his younger brother Michael alias Tolomu (29) was arrested by police on Saturday.  
 At first, Michael was  taking relief materials to relief camps but he later volunteered to defend Meitei villages in the face of relentless attacks by Kuki militants and their supporters, Gojen said.
He urged the State Government to release all five of them safely without any condition.
He also appealed to all the CSOs to help secure safe and unconditional  release of the village defence volunteers.
Konthoujam Romobala of Sagolband Sayang Khwai Ningthou Leirak said that her son Romojit alias Lukhoi (27) too volunteered to help defend Meitei villages from unceasing Kuki aggression.
Romobala said that strong agitation would be launched if the five village defence volunteers are not released by September 20.
Keisham Sony of Kakwa Sorokhaibam Leikai said that her husband Johnson (38) and the other four village defence volunteers arrested by police were defending Meitei villages in the interest of the whole community.
It was not their personal interest, and as such the people must not abandon them to their fate, Sony said.
The other two village defence volunteers are Moirangthem Anand (46) of Kakwa Sorokhaibam Leikai and Athokpam Keshorjit alias Kajit (49) of Kongba Nongthombam Leikai.
Meanwhile, the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) has warned that the arrest of village defence volunteers by police would only exacerbate the turmoil rather than bringing any sort of normalcy.
Speaking to media persons, COCOMI coordinator Jeetendra Ningomba asked the State police to stop arresting village defence volunteers immediately.1
He appealed to the police force not to commit the blunder of aggravating the people’s anger and misery.
Jeetendra pointed out that the village defence volunteers came out as the State police could not defend Meitei villages successfully against aggression by Chin-Kuki narco-terrorists. He questioned the motive of arresting village defence volunteers in the valley while the State police are unable to do anything even as Chin-Kuki narco-terrorists armed with sophisticated weapons are roaming freely in the hills. He went on to question if two sets of separate laws are in force in Manipur. Demanding unconditional release of all the five village defence volunteers, the COCOMI coordinator said that they would launch strong agitation if they are not released at their earliest.