Mass peace rally turns violent in Ukhrul, end peaceful elsewhere
Two shot dead, scores including several cops injured, vehicles set ablaze in Ukhrul
By R Lester Makang
UKHRUL, August 30: At least two civilians have been shot dead and scores grievously injured in police firing and subsequent assault on civilians even as irate mob beat up some four five police commando personnel in Ukhrul today.
The mob had also set ablaze two government vehicles after the United Naga Council (UNC)-sponsored public mass rally turned violent here on Saturday.
The two deceased have been identified as Ramkashing Vashi, 26, son of Christopher Vashi of Teinem village and Mayopam Ramror, 32 of Teinem village.
Both were said to be recently married and survived by their pregnant wives respectively. The bodies have been deposited at the Ukhrul District Hospital for post mortem.
Meanwhile, another critically wounded Ngachonmi Muivah of Somdal has been taken to Imphal for treatment while all the other injured are being treated at the district hospital.
However, the exact number of the injured could not be immediately ascertained, though expected to be around 16 including the critically wounded.
Eye witnesses said that as the public numbering over thousands turned out at Awon Tang junction and tried to proceed towards the Tangkhul Naga Long Ground around 1:35 pm to join a mass gathering where a joint memorandum of Naga Hohos and Naga frontal organisations of the respective districts was slated to be read out before being submitted to the Prime Minster of India at 2 pm, State security forces fired tear gas shells, mock bombs resulting in heavy casualties among the public.
Soon after, similar violent situation erupted at Alungtang and Wino Bazaar where police commandos fired live bullet allegedly from suspected AK 47 rifles upon the rallyists at point blank range killing the duo instantaneously in front of Ukhrul Higher Secondary School at Wino Bazaar even as explosions of mock bombs and tear gas shells continued, sources added.
In the ensuing mob action, eye witnesses said, some four five police commandos were beaten up by the irate mob resulting in grievous injury of one police personnel.
The public went ahead and set ablaze two vehicles including a Police commando gypsy in front of TNL Ground at Wino Bazaar.
The public also rained stones at security vehicles passing through the TNL Office breaking windows of some vehicles even as commandos kept blank firing. Thereafter the public put up boulders and logs across the road in dual direction in front of TNL office to block passage of security force vehicles.
At the same time, the public held a gathering at TNL Ground where effigies of the Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh and Dy CM Gaikhangam were burned amidst strong condemnation and curse.
Thereafter around 4 pm police commandos went on rampage on the main road of the township and damaged some private vehicles, eye witnesses have said.
Subsequently, the State forces resorted to physical attack on civilians crossing the District Mini Secretariat at Hamleikhong and whisked away 9 persons in their custody inside the office complex where the civilians were brutally assaulted resulting in critical injuries.
Later, with intervention of district administration, it was decided that State forces be retreated to ease the mounting tension for the time being and Assam Rifles personnel be deployed in the town instead and subsequently, the youth were released and rushed to the district hospital, sources added.
However, around 5:30 pm two persons who happened to be friends of the two deceased were returning home after visiting the hospital were reportedly severely beaten up by police commandos who were staying near Ukhrul Town Hall. However, they have been rescued by AR personnel and rushed them to Army hospital at Somsai immediately.
The public mass rally was held in all the Naga hill district of the State to demonstrate the sentiments of the Nagas in the backdrop of the continued imposition of CrPc 144 along with deployment of State security forces while also to pressurize the Government of India to expedite the process for Alternative Arrangement pending Indo-Naga solution.
The rally was staged at six different localities of the town which was attended by thousands of peoples from all localities of the town and villages from nearby villages.