Heirok villagers living in terror as poll-related violence claims life of student
Around 40 houses of Heirok have been vandalised in pre-poll violence that took place recently, including the attack on a local journalist, ahead of the state Assembly elections next year.
Updated on 24 Dec 2021, 4:43 pm
Heirok, Thoubal (Photo: IFP)
It’s festive season and the whole world is in a celebrative mood. But the villagers of Heirok in Thoubal district of Manipur are living in terror, following the recent killing of a college student (late N Rohit alias Kanao) in a pre-poll violence that took place in Heirok Assembly constituency on the night of December 21-22. The Manipur Assembly election is due early 2022.
During a visit by this Imphal Free Press reporter to different localities of Heirok, it was learnt that around 40 houses of Heirok have been vandalised in pre-poll violence that took place recently, including the attack on a local journalist.
As per police report, six individuals along with a few other associates came to the residence of the deceased college student on the intervening night of December 21 and 22 by crossing over their fence and started firing, leaving Rohit dead and his father injured.
Twenty-one-year- old Rohit was pursuing his graduation - BA 5th semester - in Thoubal College. He was to give his semester examination the day after. His father Ningthoujam Premchandra, an LDC, sustained bullet injuries.
Before the incident, a clash took place between supporters of the BJP and the Congress at Heirok Bazar from 9 pm till 11 pm of December 21, where N Roshan, the elder brother of the deceased was involved as a youth leader of the Congress, police sources said.
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Following the incident, the district magistrate of Thoubal has imposed indefinite curfew in the whole area of Heirok village from 5 pm Thursday (December 23).
“After such a terrifying act, we never go out at night. We shut our gate securely before 5 pm and never opened it even for known guests,” said E Laxmi, while speaking to the Imphal Free Press.
“Imposition of curfew and deployment of security personnel on a large scale is a good initiative to prevent such crime. However it is a bit late. Many crimes might have been prevented if such action were taken up timely,” she added.
Speaking to the IFP, Roshan said such an attack on his family members who never indulged in political activities is not an act of humanity.
“If they have any issue with me they should confront me. Attacking my family on issues related to politics is not acceptable by society,” he said, strongly condemning the act.
Claiming that he knows the culprits personally, as he had been an active worker of the Heirok MLA in the 2017 election, he said such terrifying attack at his residence, including murdering his brother, cannot be carried out without proper planning. “The culprits might have got an assent from their boss before taking up such a crime,” he added.
Roshan appealed to the people of Manipur to refrain from any kind of election-related violence, as anyone can become a victim. “Join politics but abstain from violence. Let my brother’s incident set a torchbearer to refrain from violence in politics,” he said.
Following Chief Minister N Biren’s assurance to book the culprits within two days, body of late Rohit was collected from JNIMS morgue on Thursday and his last rite was conducted on Friday morning at Heirok.
People who attended the last rite alleged the Manipur police for their negligence and untimely response to any crime happening in Heirok.
Various pre-poll- related crimes had taken place within the Heirok AC, so it is the duty of police as a law implementing body to take up certain security measures to prevent any such crimes, said N Sanatombi.
“If the police have taken proper security measures sincerely, Rohit might be alive today,” she added.
Following the announcement of curfew, strict security measures are in place in Heirok area by deploying personnel of police commandos, IRB and BSF.
According to a senior police officer, the law and order situation in Heirok is now under control. More preventive measures are being taken up at the night time as such unwanted crime happens in the night, the officer added.
He also informed that the six accused persons, including the brother of MLA Th Radheshyam, who were allegedly involved in the killing of N Rohit surrendered themselves to the Thoubal district police.
The six accused are identified as Thokchom Putro Singh, Ningthoujam Panan Singh, Thokchom Sanathoi Singh, Thokchom Henrik, Laishram Biken and Khundongbam Nicky from Heirok, Thoubal districts.
On December 23, the accused Pruto (youngest brother of MLA Th Radheshyam) in a press briefing held at the residence of the MLA clarified that the allegations made against him were baseless, and he was not involved in the incident.
He said that he was at his residence with his family when the incident took place, and he strongly condemned the charges that he shot Rohit and his father.
He further said that if he was found guilty, then he would not make a run but will accept any punishment given by the court or by the people of Heirok.
B Rakesh Sharma
Staff Reporter, Imphal