Hentinseh Singsit, a 30-year-old drug user from Motbung of Kangpokpi district was arrested from his residence on October 25 by a combined team of Imphal West police and 15 Assam Rifles. He, along with two others, was charged for involvement in a shootout on October 12, which resulted in the death of three civilians, including a child.

The said killings occurred at the B Gamnom village on October 12.

However, it was found out that Hentiseh Singsit, who was allegedly arrested with a .32 pistol and a mobile phone and charged as a Kuki National Front (Nehlun) cadre, is a drug user who was lodged at the New Life rehab centre in Imphal West district from October 6 and had left the centre on October 15.

Kakai Singsit, Hentiseh’s uncle told EastMojo that his nephew is neither related to the alleged shooting nor is he a cadre of the proscribed outfit.

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“Hentinseh is not someone who is endowed with wings and flew from the rehab centre, committed the crime and flew back again to the centre. If that is not the case, there is no way that he can be involved in the crime. The police should meticulously check if he has got wings or not,” said Kakai, questioning his nephew’s involvement in a crime committed October 12 vis-à-vis his stay at the rehab centre until October 15.

30-year-old Hentinseh Singsit, who was arrested by the police on October 25

On October 25, SP Imphal West Dr S Ibomcha had announced that the three KNF (N) cadres, arrested after a night-long joint operation, had allegedly disclosed their involvement under the command of self-styled Chairman of the KNF, James Kipgen and Vice-Chairman Mangsat Haokip.

On his part, chief minister N Biren Singh, who also holds the Home department portfolio, had detailed the incident in a social media post on October 25, and congratulated Imphal west police commando Inspector P Achouba Meetei, who led the team and a column of 15 Assam Rifles.

“Suspected Kuki civilian killers arrested, well done state police and AR personnel,” the CM wrote on his Facebook page.

The police identified the arrested as Seigoulun Singsit (20), Henminlun Misao alias Kevin (29) and Hentinseh Singsit (30). Of these, Seigoulun was the first to be arrested by the police on October 24.

While the police maintain that Seigoulun is 20 years old, family members showed his birth certificate to EastMojo, that states his date of birth as November 14, 2003. This means the Manipur police has in custody an 18-year-old juvenile, lodged at the Patsoi police station lock up till date. He will become an adult on 14 November, 2021.

According to the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, Seigoulun should be handed over to the Juvenile Justice Board and kept in a government-run shelter home for children, his relatives asserted.

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Hentiseh’s uncle Kakai Singsit said that Seigoulun is also another drug addict and it was only last month that his family came to know that he was using heroin.

“Our family decided to keep him in rehab but kept on hold due to financial problems. He never moves out from the village. On October 22, he told his mother that he will be joining a Bible camp at Kangpokpi and left home. The we came to know of his arrest on October 25, much to our surprise,” Kakai said.

Alleging that the boys are known drug addicts in the Motbung area, Kakai said the police was using them as scapegoats instead of arresting those who are involved in the killings. “They should be released at the earliest,” he added.

On October 12, four villagers, including an 8-year old, were killed and two injured, including a 2-year-old, after suspected militants opened fire on a group of people attending a condolence service at the B Gamnom village in the Kangpokpi district of Manipur on Tuesday.

The villagers were gathered at the B. Gamnom ground for the condolence meeting of four deceased cadres of Kuki National Liberation Army (KNLA), who were slain on October 10 by security forces in Hingojang, an area close to B Gamnom village. A press statement by KNF(N) publicity secretary Gou alias Kuki said that the death of the three innocent civilians was due to a cross firing between the two groups. 

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