Manipur violence: CBI charge sheets seven in Bishnupur armoury loot case

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 03-03-2024 17:41 IST | Created: 03-03-2024 17:41 IST
Manipur violence: CBI charge sheets seven in Bishnupur armoury loot case
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The CBI has filed a charge sheet against seven accused in connection with the looting of arms and ammunition from the Bishnupur police armoury during the Manipur ethnic violence last year, officials said on Sunday.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing cases related to the ethnic clashes in Manipur, recently filed its charge sheet before the court of chief judicial magistrate in Kamrup (Metro) in Assam's Guwahati.

The accused named in the charge sheet are Laishram Prem Singh, Khumukcham Dhiren alias Thapkpa, Moirangthem Anand Singh, Athokpam Kajit alias Kishorjit, Loukrakpam Michael Mangangcha alias Michael, Konthoujam Romojit Meitei alias Romojit, and Keisham Johnson alias Johnson.

On August 3 last year, a mob looted more than 300 weapons, 19,800 rounds of ammunition and other accessories from two rooms of the 2nd Indian Reserve Battalion headquarters at Naranseina in Bishnupur.

Around 9,000 rounds of bullets of different calibres, an AK series assault rifle, three 'Ghaatak' rifles, 195 self-loading rifles, five MP-5 guns, 16 9mm pistols, 25 bulletproof jackets, 21 carbines, and 124 hand grenades, among others, were looted by the mob, the officials said.

Barring Laishram Prem Singh and Khumukcham Dhiren alias Thapkpa, the remaining five have been earlier charge-sheeted by the CBI in looting of police armoury at the Manipur Police Training Centre (MPTC) at Pangei in Imphal.

This incident took place on May 4 last year, the day ethnic clashes between the majority Metei community and tribal Kukis broke out in the northeast state. As alleged in the FIR, a mob stormed into the MPTC complex and looted a huge number of arms and ammunition from the armoury.

Moirangthem Anand Singh is alleged to be a former member of the proscribed People's Liberation Army (PLA) of Manipur and the Kangleipak Communist Party (Noyon), while the remaining are believed to be overground workers of valley-based banned terror outfits.

They had earlier been arrested by the Manipur Police in September last year when they were allegedly extorting money by wearing police uniform and carrying sophisticated weapons, the officials said. Their arrest had sparked off a protest that continued for two days.

The five were released following a court order but Singh was picked up by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), placed under arrest and brought to the national capital.

Singh was arrested for allegedly having links with Myanmar-based rebel groups and conspiring to wage war against India by exploiting the current ethnic unrest in Manipur. While Singh is in judicial custody, the fate of the other six was not immediately known.

The Supreme Court in August last year had transferred all CBI cases from Manipur to Assam.

The top court's direction came during a hearing of a batch of petitions related to the clashes in Manipur. Among the petitioners were two Kuki women whose assault by a mob was recorded on video which went viral later.

Among the slew of measures announced by the apex court were ensuring recording of statements of the victims through video conferencing and also directing the chief justice of the Gauhati High Court to nominate judicial officers above the rank of judicial magistrate (first class) and sessions judge to deal with cases related to the Manipur violence.

The state has witnessed escalating violence since May 3, 2023 with 219 casualties reported after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' in the hill districts protested the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The Meiteis, constituting around 53 per cent of Manipur's population, reside predominantly in the Imphal Valley. The tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, who make up 40 per cent, primarily inhabit the hill districts.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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