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Tear gas, bullets rain on Mao town, toll so far 2 killed and over 70 injured; Mao community refuse to receive bodies

(L-R) Manipur police commandos fire tear gas at the public in Mao town, Thursday. An injured demonstrator being carried away. (EP)
Daiho/Parmeiso Mao Gate, MAY 6 (NPN)
Published on 7 May. 2010 1:46 AM IST
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All hell broke loose at around 10.30 a.m. Thursday when several hundred people, mostly women, were proceeding towards the interstate boundary singing “We Shall Overcome” when they were confronted by tear gas firing armed personnel of the Manipur Police and subsequent events led to ‘Bloody Thursday’ in Mao town.
Figures of those killed varied from two, three and four. However, the toll, at the time of filing this report, was two students killed and more than 70 injured, some in serious condition. Those killed were identified as -Daikho Loshü-o a BA IInd year student of St.Jospeh’s College Jakhama and Neli Chakho a BA IIIrd year student in Bangalore, both from Kalinamei village under Senapati district, Manipur . The third identified as N.Lokho(MA), a teacher , was in critical condition with head injury and admitted to the I.C.U at Naga Hospital Kohima. Five others were hospitalized in the NHK,which included- two women and three men, two with blast injuries, one with injury by rubber pellets and two from gun-butts causing bone fracture. Others were admitted to various hospitals.
The Red Cross team from Kohima, which visited Mao gate Thursday afternoon, confirmed the number of injured persons was 74- forty four females and thirty males. The number of casualties is expected to increase. NWUM president Grace Shatsang also sustained leg injury when a tear gas exploded right on her feet. Her condition is however stated to be stable. The peaceful rally was organized by the Naga Women Union Manipur (NWUM) and United Naga Council (UNC).
The rally was headed towards the interstate boundary in protest against the Manipur government’s decision to bar NSCN(I-M)leader Th.Muivah from entering Manipur to visit his native village Somdal, in Ukhrul district. Protest rallies were also held in various parts of Naga districts of Senapati, Ukhrul and Tamenglong under Manipur
Muivah had halted the previous night in Viswema village,Nagaland, on account of the ban imposed on his entry.
The firing of tear gas infuriated some public who then retaliated by pelting stones and setting fire to seven vehicles belonging to security personnel — in which one bus was gutted beyond repair.
In retaliation, the armed police fired several rounds from automatic weapons including more than 200 shells of tear gas against the civilians. The road along the Mao Gate turned red with blood and strewn with empty tear gas shells and shoes, slippers among others left behind by the fleeing crowd. The two victims were reportedly shot while attempting to escape inside the Mao town hall.
Subsequent search operations to recover a gas gun, reportedly snatched by some of the infuriated crowd led to house to house search in the nearby Songsong village and Kalinamei village, where males were picked up at random.
Hundreds of terrified villagers of the two villages fled towards Khuzama village in Nagaland. Around 500 to 1000 people were given refuge in the village council hall and other available places for shelters.
The PHQ Nagaland has informed that a special control room has been set up in connection with the Nagaland-Manipur inter-state border.
The control room is headed by SP (Security) and information may be sought from the following numbers: 9436005941(mob) or 0370-2245748 (phone).
Meanwhile, DGP Nagaland K.Kire told Nagaland Post over phone Thursday, that a team from Nagaland led by IGP (Int) S.T.Sangtam and comprising of DIG (R)Thungbemo Lotha, SP (Sec), SP Kohima V.Mero, DC Kohima Bei-u Angami and SDO Jakhama visited the site at Mao to assess the situation. SP Kohima V.Mero said the team visited a hospital in Mao and the situation there was “very tense”.

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