IMPHAL, May 18: Six people were injured when police fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets at a group of stone-throwing protesters near Kanglatombi along National Highway-39.
The protestors were demanding that the accused who involved in the alleged murder of Pushpa Basnet be handed to them on Friday.
Police said they were forced to fire tear gas shells and rubber bullets to quell the protesters as they resorted to violence throwing stones at them while blocking the Kanglatombi section of NH-39.
Pushpa Basnet, 16, daughter of Prithiman Basnet, a native of Tispari Nepali Basti under Sekmai police station, found death at a foothill in Leikinthabi. Her boyfriend named Khumanthem Ingo, 24, son of Apabi, a resident of Maharabi Maning Leikai is now accused of killing Pushpa.
Meanwhile, angry protesters blocked the Kanglatombi section of NH-39 demanding to handover the accused involved in the killing of Pushpa to them when six protesters were injured in police action.
A team of police led by Jayenta, Superintendant of police, Imphal West rushed to the site where the protesters were enforcing a road block and resorted to tears gas shells, smoke bombs and rubber bullets to disperse them, wounding six people.
The wounded were shifted to the Sekmai Primary Health Centre where they were treated. They are identified as Padma,36, Uma,25, Kalpana Karki,40, Soribeti,17 and Manikumar,40, all residents of Kanglatombi, and another protester named Dinesh Siwakuti,32, of Tispari.
Police said they fired tears gas shells at the protesters as they attacked them with stones.
Later in the day, Kangpokpi constituency MLA, Nemcha Kipgen and Sekmai constituency MLA, Kh Devendra tried to appease the agitators assuring them that the culprits involved in the alleged killing of Pushpa would be awarded stringent punishment.
SP Jayenta also assured them that proper action would be taken up with regard to the incident and the same would be able to expedite as one individual involved in the crime is now undergoing treatment at RIMS. However, the protesters were not budged despite the assurances as they continued to demand to handover the accused to them by scouting in the middle of the road.
Pushpa, a student of standard eleven at Presidency College, Motbung, had left home around 10 am yesterday to see her exam result and that she was supposed to pay admission fee to the college authority expecting promotion, her father told the media.
At the same time, accused Ingocha said he and Pushpa had a date at Millennium Garden yesterday where they quarreled after the former grasped the hands of Pushpa. Then, they left the garden.
Ingocha added, he dropped Pushpa at Kanglatombi in a Hyundai EON car, but from there she caught a bus and headed towards Imphal. Moments after she boarded the bus, Pushpa sent a SMS to Ingocha, telling him not to pursue her again.
However, he followed the passenger bus in which Pushpa was travelling in and she alighted from the bus at Khoyathong, Imphal and headed towards RIMS, Ingocha said, adding that he forcibly dragged her inside his car and then they travelled back in the car when Pushpa took something, probably poisonous substance in her mouth near as they approached Sekmai.
Ingocha also said he bought pesticide from Sekmai market and attempted to kill himself by taking the poisonous substance and then he drove the car till Leikinthabi foothill.
He added, as the effect of the pesticide started to feel an intolerable burning sensation, he sought help from a Tata Magic time keeper by telephoning him. However, Pushpa died at the foothill.
“I felt very thirsty so I went down the Sekmai Bridge and drank water from the river,” Ingocha said and added that soon after that his family came to the site to rescue him and later they brought him to Koirengei Catholic Medical Centre (CMC).
The body of Pushpa was conducted autopsy at RIMs mortuary Friday in the presence of a magistrate and it also had video recording.
Sources said there was no any sign of rape or murder in the case of Pushpa, but it was clear that she took poison.
The pesticide she took was ‘Super Killer’ and the empty bottle of the insect killer was recovered from the site she was lying dead, the sources added.
Ingo is now undertaking treatment at RIMS under strict vigilance of police and as of now, it is not possible to interrogate him on the alleged killing of Pushpa as he has not fully recovered.
Meanwhile, the body of Pushpa has been taken by her family late afternoon, but the road block near Kanglatombi reportedly continued till evening.
In other development, Awang Sekmai Nongthonband Youth Club condemned the alleged murder of Pushpa, urging the government to punish the culprits involved in her killing. The club also said it shares the grief of the bereaved family, according to a release.