Unruly mob at Noney led to police firing tear gas shells says police chief

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IMPHAL, November 6:  DGP Y Joykumar in a press statement has clarified about the involvement of police personnel at the Noney incident which took place on November 4. In response to UNC and ANSAM`s press release which was published in  local papers on November 6, alleging that Manipur police commandos and IRB personnel assaulted civilians at Noney bazaar without any provocation. It said that bandh supporters at Noney had stopped two Tata Sumos coming towards Imphal in the morning  and burnt them down at about 8 am.

“The Police party which had gone for duty to Tousem in c/w the visit of the Union home minister could not cross Noney area before the midnight of November 3. It was also learnt that the crowd which had resorted to arson, burning down the two Tata Sumos was also still assembled at Noney to stop the police party returning from Tousem.  As the police team returning from Tousem had not carried any tear gas equipment, they would have had to open fire if stopped and attacked.  As we did not want this to happen, 12 teams of commandos along with tear gas equipment was sent from Imphal to retrieve the police team” the release stated.

The  DGP further mentioned that, the police commandos on arrival at Noney was blocked by the bandh supporters, the police personnel warned them to clear the road which was not heeded. Instead more people started gathering and the crowd started to swell. The police personnel fired a few tear gas shells to disperse the crowd after sufficient warning and cleared the road. The bandh supporters again blocked the road when the police commandos returned along with the Tousem team from Awangkhul. The public were asked to make way for the convoy. It was however not heeded. A stern warning was issued to clear the road but when the warning was also not heeded even after 10 minutes or so, and instead, the mob started pelting stones, hurling missiles to the police personnel, the police party resorted to firing tear gas and cleared the route. In the altercation, two police vehicles windshields were broken and two police personnel were injured, the statement added.

It has also mentioned that, the police department had no intention of hurting or injuring any civilians other than allowing safe passage to the police team returning from Tousem. However, on the other hand it was the bandh supporters who were actively indulging in burning of vehicles, damage to public properties without any provocation. The allegation that the crowd at Noney was a peaceful one and police resorted to firing of tear gas without any provocation is totally false. How can a crowd which had resorted to burning of two Tata Sumos and resorted to stone pelting to the police party be treated as a peaceful one, it added.

The official statement further mentioned that, numbers of arson cases had taken place at Noney. Only recently the burning of a DI Tata vehicles of police department on October 23 by the mob at Noney bazaar while negotiation was still going on by the SP of Tamenglong, burning of two Tata Sumos in between Noney and Awangkhul on November 4 and also the burning of Noney police out-post vehicles after police commandos left Noney on the same day bear testimony to the violent nature of the crowd at Noney.

It may be mentioned that the Police department tried to avoid confrontation with any crowd as far as possible. We have shown restrain and patience throughout the blockade called by the Sadar Hill District Demand Committee- and counter blockade called by UNC. It was only after things have gone beyond tolerable limit that the police had to resort to confrontation when the  works minister was unreasonably stopped and attacked by SHDDC supporters. Similar is the case , in respect of the incident at Noney on November 4. It may be mentioned that it would be wrong to take the entire state to ransom on unreasonable ground by any group leading to the untolerable suffering by the people.

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