Suspected Kuki militants hijack, assault flower sellers; Mao Council condemns

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KANGPOKPI, April 20: Despite repeated reports of hijacking vehicles, extortions, looting and harassing transport drivers, both State and Paramilitary forces remain clueless to seriously curb the activities of the miscreants from frequent occurrence along the state’s lifeline NH-2 stretch.

In yet another disturbing incident, suspected armed Kuki militant hijacked a bolero pick-up before assaulting those women who were flower sellers and transporting flowers to Imphal at Keithelmanbi under Kangpokpi police station in Sadar Hills.

The victims were identified as Dikho Lophro of Kaibi Village; Sani Kaisa of Kaibi Village and Besii Chofoza of Shajouba village while the driver has been identified as Hepunii, s/o Hriili of Kaibi Village.

Police later recovered the hijacked vehicle bearing Regd. No: NL-01N-3106.

According to the victims, the incident happened during the early hour on Tuesday, April 19 at around 4:30 am when some armed Kuki militants stopped their vehicle and demanded Rs.10,000/- at Keithelmanbi under Kangpokpi police station.

Even though the flower sellers pleaded for them to be exempted from any tax as they earn a low income, the militants snatched off their mobile phones before threatening the driver to drive to a secluded jungle, one of the victims narrated.

However, after driving for some distance the vehicle met with an accident, and the militants fled from the scene along with the mobile phones snatch from them, she said and added that they managed to reach the highway and seek for help.

Notably, such incidents has also been reported in the past where some fruit and vegetable sellers from Mao going to Imphal market were also stopped and were looted of money and mobile phones at Keithelmanbi stretch along the NH-2.

Such frequent incidents occur during the early hours where many trucks and commercial transport vehicles were also seen halted by armed miscreants suspected to be militant groups.

According to another fruit and vegetable seller, during the daytime policemen are seen manning the said stretch but the militants continue to dominate the highway during the odd hours luxuriously pounding on innocent people who are earning their livelihood with their sweat earned products.

She further said that many of our vegetable sellers have stopped in this business for fear of hijack and looting along the NH-2.

Meanwhile, condemnation poured in over the incident from various civil bodies and demanded for booking the culprits at the earliest.

The Mao Council in a press statement has strongly condemned the incident and has demanded for booking those culprits.

While condemning the hijacking and assault of innocent bread earners in the strongest terms, Mao Council said that such barbaric unwanted incidents have become a frequent happening, but the government agencies and forces have miserably failed to check the arsons of the armed miscreants and militants along the NH-2 which has become their soft target.

The Mao community is seriously offended by such repeated act of harming and harassing innocent people and demanded immediate booking of those culprits, it added.

It also asked whether those responsible groups are communally targeting the Mao community.

While demanding befitting actions at the earliest, the Mao Council warned that it will not hesitate to react accordingly if those involved are not booked by the concerned authorities.

The Mao Women Welfare Association (MWWA) has also strongly condemned the inhuman assault of Mao Women Flower and Vegetables vendors and equally condemned the assault on the driver and the damage done to the vehicle by those armed militants.

It further appealed to the concerned authority to immediately intervene and book the culprit to restore the sense of security to all travelers particularly the hill community neighbors in the interest of justice and peaceful co-existence for women folk while also appealing the general public to condemn such incident to prevent further re-occurrence.

In the meantime, joining the vocals against the unfortunate incident, Senapati District civil bodies also condemned the incident in the strongest term.

A joint press statement issued by Naga people’s organization (NPO), Senapati District Women’s Association (SDWA) and Senapati District Students’ Association (SDSA) noted that, such incident of disturbing the peaceful environment is ‘uncalled for and condemned in highest terms’.

The three apex bodies stated that, the concerned authorities and State Government should come out with definite stand to curb such repeated incidents which are becoming insecure and dangerous to those travelers and innocent citizens who were earning their livelihood.

Demanding justice to those victims, the three bodies added that, culprits should be booked at the earliest and steps be taken to avoid such incidents in the future for safety of all.

Believe it or not, at least 2/3 abduction and kidnapping incident occur in a week along the National Highway within Sadar Hills mostly in between Kangpokpi to Motbung.

However, most of the incidents go unreported.

The National Highway-2 section particularly between Kangpokpi and Motbung has become a scary zone for businessmen and transporters but no commendable measures could be implemented so far.

It is now right time for the militants as well as the civil bodies and the Government machineries to culminate such menacing act once and for all so as to secure the dignity of Sadar Hills.

The worst part, as learnt, in connection with such incident and probably the key factor for such incident to reoccur is that even if the culprits were determinedly apprehended they are bail out within a short time only to resume the menacing activities and they are never given a single punishment for their offense.

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