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KCCI to continue closure if murder unsolved

(left) Shops in Kohima were a deserted look as KCCI called an indefinite closure of shops against the killing of a businessman, Pradeep Prasad by unidentified miscreants. (right) People paying last respect to Late Prasad, Kohima , Friday. (NP)
Correspondent KOHIMA, APR 24 (NPN):
Published on 25 Apr. 2009 12:22 AM IST
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Setting aside caste, creed, religion and community, citizens of Kohima in huge numbers united in solidarity with the business community and the Kohima Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) to express strong resentment against senseless killings, threats and intimidation of innocent citizens. Almost all members of Kohima’s business community including representatives of several organizations were on hand along with the citizens to join the KCCI in front of the KCCI tower here Friday morning where the last rites for late Pradeep Prasad was held. Former Minister and prominent businessman, Seyiekuolie Kesiezie also the advisor to the KCCI, in his hard hitting speech regretted that Nagaland has become a terrorist land. He said Naga national workers were threatening and intimidating public today in the name of Naga sovereignty adding that the sole pursuit of both underground and overground leaders was money. Seyiekuoli opined this was the reason why over ground people needed the undergrounds whenever elections come and held both sections responsible for the prevailing situation in the society today. The former minister said he was even willing to offer his life if the national workers believed that killing of innocent people could help achieve Naga sovereignty. KCCI Adviser, Vilanuo Yhome said the business community was targeted the moment they opened their shops. She wondered who was to blame if 95% of the population could not check the remaining 5% of bad elements in the society. Further, she asked whether the silence of society to such crimes was instead, not encouraging the few bad elements. The gathering of people to mourn a dead body was not going to work unless there was a collective will to weed out the anti social elements within society, she said. Yhome also pointed out that even if the factions were not involved, people’s fingers pointed at them because they have shown the way. She also said certain other elements were also indulging in anti-social activities in the guise of the undergrounds. Speaking on behalf of the Hindu community in Kohima, J. Mall, said no businessmen, local or non local, was free from demands from various factions and groups. However, he also revealed that the members of the business communities were most reluctant to report such matters to the police or administration out of fear. Mall said when victims reported about extortions to police, those responsible would come back the next day and threaten the business community. He said for this reason, many businessmen had fled Kohima and Dimapur under the circumstances. Mall also said since members of the business community were made to function under four to five governments, it was the duty and responsibility of all these governments to apprehend the culprit. Angami Women Organization President Medovino Dolie said the law enforcing agencies should immediately act and arrest the culprits. Several others including, women activist Neidunuo Angami, Fr. N K Abraham, Parish Priest Kohima, Kaka D. Iralu, Santoshima and Manoj Agarwal spoke on the occasion. The gathering took out a silent procession from the shop of the deceased via Supermarket, Razhu point, old MLA hostel junction to TCP gate and returned to local ground from where a delegation went to meet the DC Kohima and submitted a memorandum. Meanwhile, after the last rites , the mortal remains of late Pradeep Prasad, was taken to his hometown in Bihar for the last journey As a sign of protest against the killing of late Pradeep Prasad who was abducted on Monday last and whose dead body was recovered yesterday, the KCCI members will put up black flag outside their shop(s) for seven days, starting from Friday. KCCI to continue closure The KCCI said that the closure of shops within Kohima town, which started on Friday (April 24), would continue indefinitely till the culprits were apprehended and brought to justice. The KCCI in a memorandum submitted to Deputy Commissioner Kohima, Sachopra Vero signed by its president Khriehuzo Lohe and vice president Kesao Kesiezie demanded amendment of the prevailing criminal law and formation of a new strategic structure to provide immediate safety to the business community before the situation worsened. The KCC also demanded that the government authorities demonstrate their commitment to tackling the issue at the earliest. It urged the government to maintain separate statistic record regarding crimes committed against businessman since it appeared to be escalating. The Chamber warned that any delay in delivering justice would compel the KCCI to take its own course of action to redress their demands. Stating that it was deeply shocked and anguished over the brutal murder of Pradeep Prasad, the business community said it had been apprehensive of such situation. The KCCI said the particular incident had created fear psychosis, insecurity in the minds of the business community. The Chamber reminded that it had even submitted a memorandum on March 31 pointing out the vulnerability of the life of the business community due to intimidation and that the apprehension has been proved right. “Today the KCCI do not hesitate to say that the district administration as a government machinery has overlooked and neglected the plea of the business community,” the KCCI said. The KCCI alleged that the apathetic attitude of the district administration was encouraging the ever increasing criminal activities committed on business community in the state capital. Meanwhile, the KCCI in a press statement issued jointly by its president, Khriehuzo Lohe and general secretary, K.Chris Kire thanked all organizations who have extended their support to the Chamber and also appealed the general public to bear with the inconveniencies “for a greater cause to root out this evil.” It claimed that above 5000 people participated in the procession. The Chamber also extended condolences to the bereaved family of late Pradeep Prasad, a native of Bihar. DC, SP assure action DC Kohima Sachopra Vero told the KCCI delegation in his office chamber that immediate action would be taken to arrest the culprits and requested them to share information regarding the murder of Pradip Prasad to facilitate early arrest of the culprits. Requesting the KCCI to call off their shop closure, the DC Kohima said public were the worse sufferers. “You have to think for the welfare of the people. Please re-consider your stand and think for the people,” he appealed. SP Kohima RP Kikon said the murder of Pradip Prasad was quite different and peculiar and that the police was looking from all different angles at the crime. The SP also revealed that the investigations had started and that it was likely to pick some suspects for questioning. He did not disclose further details saying it would jeopardize the investigation process. He also appealed to the KCCI and public for support and cooperation so that the culprits could be brought to book and justice delivered to the victim.

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