Manipur sets up SIT to probe 1 January firing incident that claimed 5 lives

The proscribed Revolutionary People's Front owned responsibility for Monday's incident, saying it occurred on a mission to round up a drug cartel

Meitei Pangals with Manipur CM Biren Singh (photo: IANS)
Meitei Pangals with Manipur CM Biren Singh (photo: IANS)
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IANS

The Manipur government on Thursday constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to conduct a probe into the firing incident on 1 January in the minority community-dominated Lilong area of Thoubal district, which resulted in several casualties, an official said.

The death toll from the incident rose to five as one of the injured succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday night when Mohammad Abdur Rajaq, who received critical bullet wounds, died a private hospital in state capital Imphal. He was a key functionary of Anjuman, a local anti-drugs body.

The joint action committee (JAC) formed by residents of Lilong, predominantly settled by Meitei Pangals (Muslims) in connection with the incident, on Thursday agreed to claim the bodies to perform last rites.

This was after the local pressure group signed an MoU with the state government in the presence of chief minister N. Biren Singh here on Wednesday.

The MoU, among other points, agreed to provide a suitable government job each to the next of kin of the five deceased and three seriously injured who are likely to remain physically challenged, Rs 10 lakh each to the victims' families, Rs 2 lakh each to the seriously injured and another Rs 1 lakh each to other injured persons.

According to an order issued by the district's senior superintendent of police Rakesh Balwal, the six-member SIT is to be headed by sub-divisional police officer Md Riyajuddin Shah as chairman. The progress of investigation of the case should be apprised to the SP twice daily in the morning and evening, the order said.

CM Biren Singh posted on X: "Held a meeting with CSOs of the Meitei Pangal community at my official residence today in the presence of MP (RS) Sanajaoba Leisemba, Minister K Govindas, MLA of Lilong, Abdul Nasir and my officials.

"Express my deep sorrow for the unfortunate incident that happened at Lilong on Jan 1. We have come to an understanding where the religious leaders and CSOs of Meitei Pangal community have agreed to take the remains of the victims for their last rites," he said.

The proscribed Revolutionary People's Front owned responsibility for Monday's incident, saying it occurred on a mission to round up a drug cartel which had persistently disregarded warnings to stop trading in drugs.

On Monday evening, four persons were killed and 14 others injured by heavily armed militants at Lilong Chingjao in Thoubal district. Armed attackers wearing police uniforms came in four vehicles and opened fire from sophisticated weapons at people following a quarrel over the forcible collection of money.

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