Five hurt even as villagers and MLA supporters exchange claims and counterclaims of gun fight

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IMPHAL, June 19: At least five women sustained injuries including bullet wounds when a shootout allegedly occurred at Yairipok Singa Makha Leikai under Yairipok police station today at around 3:30 pm in the evening.

According to statements of the injured persons, the shootout happened between some residents of Singa Mathak Leikai and the escort party of MLA K Meghachandra.

Tomba Bibi, 70, w/o late Sanghai Hadji and a resident of Singa Makha Leikai sustained a bullet injury on her left arm. She is presently treated for the wound at RIMS hospital. Recounting the incident, she said that earlier MLA of Wangkhem constituency was boycotted by residents of Singa Mathak Leikai on allegations that the MGNREGS wages and other schemes meant for the public were not released by the MLA. The boycott was made effective from June 8 onwards and the main initiative behind the boycott was taken by one Nuaf Ali, who lost the last election for Pradhan of Wangkem Gram Panchayat.

To bring an amicable solution to the impasse, some residents of Singa Makha Leikai invited the MLA to attend a meeting at the local Masjid today and the program was organized by the present pradhan of the Gram Panchayat, Md Helim.

The MLA along with the pradhan came in the evening and the women including Tomba Bibi herself received Mehgachandra, the women and many of his workers walked alongside Meghachandra when they saw a mob armed with sticks near Singa Mathak Leikai,but later the mob dispersed. As they walked a narrow road of Mathak Leikai, they were fired upon from both sides of the road, Tomba Bibi walking alongside the MLA then received a bullet wound on her left arm. She maintained that the escort party of the MLA never fired back.

A contradictory version of the incident was given by four injured women of Singa Mathak Leikai. The injured women Rashijan,38, w/o Rahimuddin, Dino Jan ,50, w/o late Abdul Jabbar, Dino Bibi,35, w/o Tamijur Rehman and Rahamatum Bibi,38,w/o Nijammudin had tell tale marks of bruises and injury on their face and arms. Though none of them bore any bullet injury marks, some maintained that the wounds were bullet scratches. They are presently treated at the Public Hospital, Hatta Golapati.

They stated that the MLA was banned entry into their village and a protest was held at Singa bus shed today as the MLA was expected today for a meeting at the local Masjid and later had an appointment for a personal meeting with his workers at the residence of one Meino Mourubi. At about 3 pm, the protest ended and the crowd dispersed. After some time the MLA and pradhan Helim came, the women on getting information of the MLAs arrival took to the streets armed with stick and stones and tried to deny entry to Singa Mathak Leikai when they were allegedly fired upon by Meghachandra’s escort and by the MLA himself from his pistol. The women were also beaten up by the security escort, they maintained.

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