IMPHAL, November 26: Following the custodial death of a local in the custody of 30 Assam Rifles, angered locals of Khurkhul village under Sekmai police today demanded the shifting of the 30th Assam Rifles post from the Loitang Khunou Spinning Mill.
The deceased have been identified as Heikham Nando Singh, 35, s/o H Manglemjao of Khurkhul Mayai Leikai.
The locals further formed a JAC against the custodial death and resolved to submit a memorandum to the Chief Minister tomorrow. The JAC has further decided to demand a magisterial enquiry into the death and payment of ex-gratia to the bereaved family and a government job for the deceased’s wife.
According to local sources, the deceased was picked up by a team of the 30th AR posted at Loitang Khunou Spinning Mill led by a Major rank official yesterday evening at around 4:30pm.
The locals further informed that the security team picked up Nando from the venue of a public meeting at Khurkhul Mayai leikai community hall without issuing any arrest memo or specific reason provided to the family or the locals which had already enraged the public.
Phuritshabam nigol Tombi Devi, member Khurkhul Gram panchayat informed media persons that the gram panchayat was informed by the Nando’s family members late in the night around 11pm. Soon after being informed, she led a six member team of only women comprising of local maira paibis and family members and went to the AR post.
She further informed that when enquired regarding the alleged pick up of Nando, the post commander himself informed the local women team that Nando has been picked up following some complaints against him of his involvement in various anti-social activities in cahoot with militant outfits.
However following an assurance from the post commander himself that he will be released in the morning after verification, the team returned home, she further alleged.
When Nando failed to return even after it was 11am, another team led by herself and including nandos’ mother Madhabi Devi again went to the post at around 11am, Tombi further said. She further added that Madhabi was allowed to meet her son at around 11:20am at the AR post today.
The team afterwards went back to their locality and waited there for Nando’s release. After waiting for sometime, the Panchayat member Tombi called the AR post through mobile, however the post commander informed her that Nando will need some medical treatment and that he will be released soon after some medical treatment, Tombi further informed.
Later on, she confirmed from another source that Nando succumbed at around 12:25pm on his way to the PHC Sekmai, she further informed media persons.
Enraged with the news of Nando’s death, local bodies of the area held a public meeting which was also attended by the local MLA H Borajao and Khurkhul Gram Panchayat pradhans and members.
The meeting was conducted by the Khurkhul Gram Panchayat and Khurkhul Apunba Nupi Chaokhat Lup.
Meanwhile, even as the public meeting was underway, a team of the AR led by Brigadier Navneet Kumar came attended the meeting.
Acknowledging Nando’s death as custodial death, he further tendered an apology to his family and the local public and assured to provide compensation to the bereaved family.
He further addressed the meeting that the incident is very unfortunate and sought apology from the public.
Further during the public meeting, the Brigadier stated that the AR had some information about Nando’s nexus with militant outfits from reliable sources and based on the information, the AR team had picked him up for further verification and interrogated.
However, the AR officer eluded from directly acknowledging that Nando died from AR brutality.
The Brigadier soon left, however the locals were left enraged by the compensation talk and resolved that the offer for compensation is unacceptable.
The public meeting further resolve not to accept the dead body of Nando until the government failed to meet the demand of the JAC. The dead body has been deposited at the Sekmai PHC by the Assam Rifles authority.