Blast kills CRPF man as Kangpokpi protests explosion

IMPHAL, 20th Oct: Even as protest demonstration and rally were staged/taken out at Kangpokpi to denounce explosion triggered on Friday, a CRPF jawan got killed and another wounded when unknown person(s) hurled a hand grenade on a CRPF vehicle near Nagamapal Phougeisangbam Leikai under City Police Station at around 6.20 pm Saturday.

The deceased CRPF personnel has been identified as constable Umesh M Helavar of Karnataka and the injured as constable N Ramaranjan of Tamil Nadu. Umesh was posted at 143 Battalion CRPF, Lamphel while Ramaranjan is currently posted at 109 Bn CRPF, Mongsangei. Both of them were presently undergoing induction test at CRPF Training Hub, Chilchil, Charhajare, Kangpokpi district.

According to CRPF personnel on board the same vehicle, five constables led by the Mess Commander of the Training Hub were returning to the campus after purchasing ration items the hand-grenade was lobbed inside the vehicle, a 407 mini truck of 89 Bn CRPF (AS 01 JC-4384), from the rear end. Both the slain and injured constables were seated at the rear when the attack happened.

The blast caused extensive damage to Umesh’s right hand and shrapnel from the explosive item struck him on the chest causing serious injuries. The shrapnel from the blast also hit Ramaranjan. Both of them were immediately rushed to RIMS hospital in the same vehicle. Umesh succumbed to his injuries at the hospital while Ramaranjan is undergoing treatment.

No other CRPF personnel were injured in the attack. However, the roof and body of the mini truck suffered some damage due to splinters from the blast. According to police reports, a case has been registered at City Police Station in connection with the incident and an investigation has been launched, aided by a team of forensic experts.

On receiving news of the blast, officials of Manipur Police including top officers of Imphal West District Police rushed to the area and conducted search operation. Manipur Police DGP and top officers of CRPF also visited RIMS hospital. Later in the evening, chief minister N Biren visited RIMS hospital and met the injured jawan. Condemning the attack on security forces, Biren said that it is unfortunate for the state to witness such incident after a relatively peaceful atmosphere for the last one and half years. He said that the government will investigate the incident and book the culprits.

Speaking to media persons, the CM informed that investigation had already begun and the culprits would be nabbed soon. He said that it was unfortunate to target security personnel who came there to buy vegetables. Biren also met doctors who were attending the injured personnel and high ranking officers of CRPF. He was accompanied by DGP LM Khaute and other high ranking officers of Manipur police.

Meanwhile, denouncing Friday’s bomb blast near the residence of Autonomous District Council, Sadar Hills (ADC-SH) chairman, ADC councillors and staff, CEO T Manihar, additional CEO Lhingkhonei Lotzem, education department staff staged sit-in-protest in front of the council office on Saturday. Kangpokpi Town Committee (KTC) also organised a protest rally denouncing the violent act.

Speaking to media persons on the sideline of the protest, ADC vice-chairman Thangjakam Misao asserted that the blast was a challenge to the peace loving people while adding that they will not tolerate such incidents. “We are stunned as it severely threatens the peaceful environment and it is totally against the principle of ADC Sadar Hills”, asserted Misao while adding that ADC Sadar Hills promote and encourage peace as development can only exist when peace prevail.

He also said that such acts of violence and criminalities have no place in a peaceful society and such abhorrent acts of violence cannot be justified for any reason. He further said that the criminal and cowardly act of violence seeks to undermine security and stability of Kangpokpi DHQ in particular and the entire district in general and called upon all communities in the district to join hands for uprooting such menace. The ADC leader also said that any problems can be solved through negotiation but not by violence.

Meanwhile, Kangpokpi Town Committee (KTC) and other local bodies including KWWO and KYU organised a mass rally on Saturday around the township to protest the bomb blast. The rally, which started from 2 pm near M Thomas Ground, moved towards Kangpokpi main bazar via downtown IT Road junction and ended at ADC Sadar Hills office campus. KTC chairman Lunseh Kipgen while addressing media persons said that the rally was organised to exhibit the public’s annoyance and strongest condemnation of the bomb blast.

“It is not against any particular community or group but against all forms of violence in Kangpokpi town”, he said while adding that people of Kangpokpi will not accept and give space to such violence act in the town. He demanded those responsible for the blast to come up openly and declare as to why it challenged the peaceful co-existence in the town and also demanded to seek forgiveness from every denizen of Kangpokpi.

He also appreciated chief minister N Biren for his concern over the violence and his instruction to furnish report on the incident within a week stating that it shows the government’s sincere concern over his people irrespective of hills and valley.

Nonetheless, the KTC chairman appealed to the CM on behalf of the denizens of Kangpokpi district to expedite the progress of investigation and punish those involved accordingly so as to avoid such incident in future.

At the same time, KTC has prepared a representation to be submitted to the CM highlighting insecurity of the people living in Kangpokpi due to frequent bomb blasts. The representation also mentioned about an earlier blast that took place below the bridge of NH-2 in Kangpokpi town on May 18 this year while stating that the culprits were not arrested or punished till date. It also thanked the CM for his visit to the district for inaugurating the women’s market complex and laying foundations stone for various projects while at the same time holding the cabinet meeting there despite the blast.

The civil bodies also demanded the government to arrest those involved in the blast within the end of October.

© 2016 - 2019 The People's Chronicle. All rights reserved.