Lamka, Sep 22: An irate mob last-night set aflame a Maruti Gypsy used by Assam Rifles along with an AK-47 Rifle (Rifles?) around 7.50 pm at Bungmual village about 3 kms from here, when the latter reportedly questioned a man for storing some incriminating images on his mobile phone and subsequently arrested some others who tried to secure their friend’s release.
Information culled today on the incident indicates that AR personnel travelling in a white Gypsy pulled-out a Bolero driver identified as Jamkhomang husband of Ngaibiakmawi who just reached Bungmual after trailing him all the way.
They then blindfolded him inside their Gypsy and quizzed him on different issues including on the contents on his mobile phone after the AR personnel took possession of it.
On the request of Jamkhomang one Goulal, the local nominee of an MLA and son of former minister H Songchinkhup reached the spot and tried to secure his friend’s release who was instead arrested as well. The AR men then reportedly entered houses located along the road and pulled-up every men on their sight and arrested two others. The AR men’s conduct during all this time seems to have angered the villagers who clanged the electric poles and other materials to draw a crowd that immediately accosted the AR personnel.
The crowd gradually turned into a mob, attacking the AR Gypsy first then setting it aflame moments later. The AR men fired several rounds in the air. The firing rather than quelling the mob drew more people and further angered them, leading the mob to push the burning Gypsy into a gorge and resulting in a tense stand-off.
Top officials from the district, including the ADC Chairman, Deputy Commissioner and SP rushed to the spot but they also failed to quell the anger as the mob damaged two more police vehicles, a Gypsy of the DCs escort team and dented the IRBs bullet proof vehicle. The incident resulted in State forces resorting to another round of firing.
After about two hours of stand-off, the local officials on the insistence of the agitating mob managed to secure the release of all those arrested by the Assam Rifles and managed to steadily disperse the crowd.
SDPO Churachandpur David Piaklian who claimed that an FIR has been registered on last night’s incident confirmed that five vehicles belonging to the State forces were damaged while he said that an AK-47 rifle was burnt to cinders alongside the ARs’s Gypsy.
Meanwhile Churachandpur Reporters Association has condemned the Assam Rifles for confiscating a Digital camcorder of one reporter who was filming last night’s incident. The reporters alleged that it was an educated and optimistic Major who snatched the camera from the reporter. The camera was reportedly returned later today but without the cassette/disc. The association appealed on the Major not to repeat such act and to tender an apology at the earliest.
The ZSF Ghq also issued a statement condemning the 46 AR for causing injury to one Sumzagou, 60 of Gangpimual who had rushed towards Bungmual village on hearing the alarm bells thinking it was a fire last night. He was dragged by the AR personnel, kicked, punched and hit with rifle butt which left him bleeding on the head, it said.
‘The act of arresting, blindfolding and assaulting innocent civilian and doing the same to another person who came to prove that the arrested person is innocent failed to make every right thinking person belived that the 46AR were there to conduct lawful activities,’ added the federation that said it believed there are lawful means of arresting, questioning and detention.
The federation is also aware that there are various Supreme Court guidelines which any law enforcing agencies cannot simply ignored. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the AR to prove whether they are true law enforcing machinery of the state and ‘Friends of the Hill People’. TSE