IMPHAL, January 16: Constable Mutum Guneshwor Singh deposed before the commission of enquiry probing class XI student Robinhood’s death that on the night of July 7, 2015, he was informed by the then OC Porompat PS Dinesh that there was a proposed students rally on July 8, 2015 which will proceed towards the State Assembly.
Guneshwor was one of the escort personnel of the then OC Porompat Dinesh on July 8, the day when Robinhood was killed during a student protest rally in connection with the Inner Line Permit System at near the Minuthong area.
However, interestingly the constable’s statement deferred from an earlier statement from the OC submitted to the same commission in which the OC had stated “I have no prior information about the rally to be taken out by the students in connection with the demand for implementation of ILP system in the State of Manipur except getting information through wireless set on that day of the incident.”
Constable Mutum Guneshwor Singh is the last to depose before the commission out of the 13 affidavits submitted by the police to the commission.
He is also one of the six personnel under suspension in connection with the July 8 incident.
In his statement, he also mentioned that he fired a tear gas shell as instructed by his commander OC Dinesh by holding the tear gas gun at a 45 degree angle.
“I also fired one shot of tear gas shell towards the northeast direction by holding the tear gas gun at 45 degree angle with the intention that the tear gas shell might fall on the northern roadside of Imphal-Ukhrul Road. But I did not see where it fell.”
He said he fired his shot after hearing about 2 or 3 shots of tear gas shells. After he fired his shot he heard about 1 or 2 more shots of tear gas shells, he added.
The total number of tear gas shells fired by the police on that day would be about 5 or 6, he said.
He said he does not know who had fired the tear gas shell the first time and also who fired the last shell that day.
Guneshwor also informed the commission that he has not faced any departmental enquiry after his suspension following the incident.
During a cross examination by the counsel representing the commission he said “I do not know the reason mentioned in the suspension order for suspending me from my service.”
“It is true that in the order of the Executive Magistrate issued on that day no mention was made about using tear gas shells.”
“The Executive Magistrate ordered us to use ‘as little as possible’ force for dispersing the students,” he said.
“In our police training course it was taught that use of minimum force means warning to the mob by shouting then using lathi charge and in case of failure even after that, firing of tear gas shells is the procedures for dispersing mob.”
“There were lathis in all the police vehicles on that day,” he said.
It may also be mentioned here that Addl SP (L&O) Imphal East, Polem Manjit Singh while deposing before this commission on December 15, 2015 said that “In my opinion little force include anti-riot gun and lathi-charge.”
The six police personnel who are under suspension for firing tear gas shells on July 8, 2015 incident in which Robinhood died are Md Radikafur, Lisham Shoven Singh, Mutum Guneshwor Singh, K Starson Tarao, Nongthombam Sushil Singh and Loukham Tiken Singh.
The officers who instructed them separately to fire the tear gas shells are Addl SP (L&O) Imphal East P Manjit, SDPO Porompat Thingom Ramgopal, then OC Porompat Dinesh, SI N Raju, Reserved Inspector John and Dy SP (Ops) Imphal East L Deben respectively.
All the six police personnel have said while deposing before the commission that they had all fired only one tear gas shell after hearing 1-2 or 2-3 shots of tear gas shells, except for constable Loukham Tiken Singh who said he had fired two tear gas shells as he had misfired the first.
They all have also said that they heard sounds of 1-2 or 2-3 tear gas shell explosions after they fired their shot.
Likewise all the officers who instructed them to fire the tear gas shells have also said that they instructed their respective escort personnel to fire one tear gas shells by holding the gun at 45 degree angle only after knowing about a written order for dispersal of the student protestors using little force issued by the Executive Magistrate and also after hearing the sound of 1-2 or 2-3 tear gas shell explosions.
And after they instructed their respective escort personnel they also said that they heard the sounds of 1-2 or 2-3 tear gas shells explosions.
However none of them said they know who fired the first and last shots.
Some have admitted that they had prior information about the students rally however most of them have denied that they had prior information about the student rally.