Imphal: In a ghastly incident of violence in Manipur due to upcoming polls, 53-year-old Ningthoujam Premchandra, a father of three sons, was seriously injured and one of his sons killed.

The family had retired for the night after having dinner at Heirok part-2, Mayai leikai on Tuesday. Around midnight, the locality was rudely awoken to the sound of gunshots being fired indiscriminately. Nigthoujam Rohit, son of Premchandra and a 3rd-semester student of Thoubal college heard noises at the back of the house and opened the door to investigate. The masked men at the back, wielding weapons, shot him at point-blank range with a shotgun. Premchandra also ran to his son’s side, and he too was shot by the masked assailants. They also hit him on his head with a club and made their exit after committing the heinous act. Rohit died on the way to Raj Medicity, and his father is still in serious condition. Family members and neighbours allege this is the handiwork of BJP workers.

In the last few months, the poll violence at the Heirok assembly constituency has risen as masked men continue to terrorise families and election campaigners. Many individuals houses have been ransacked, women have been assaulted, a journalist had been beaten up and the situation continued to rise. However, Ningthoujam Rohit is the first person to be killed concerning the upcoming 12 Manipur state assembly elections.

Family members and neighbours told EastMojo at Raj Medicity that the first act of violence occurred on Tuesday evening at around 8 pm at Heirok Bazar. It was alleged that BJP workers of the 33/39 polling unit had thrown stones at the newly-set up polling unit of the Congress at the mentioned area. Later, shots were fired in the air. The persons in the Congress unit came out to counter the attackers. Among them was deceased Rohit’s elder brother Roshan, an ardent Congress supporter. When the workers came out at each other, the persons from the BJP poll unit started attacking the Congress workers with firearms. Shots were fired, and one individual identified as Khundongbam Rakesh was shot in his right arm. The Congress workers then ran away from the spot.

Khundongbam Rakesh, 28, son of Khundongbam Shyam, resident of Heirok Mayai Leikai, was brought to Raj Medicity for treatment. The X-ray revealed a projectile, that resembled a 9mm bullet, lodged in his arm and a fractured bone. After the incident, there was sporadic firing around the Heirok Bazar area. Eyewitness recount that one person was also beaten up near the Champrathong area.

At around midnight, the local women who were keeping watch at Heirok part two heard shouts, and a group of masked men approaching the area shouted that they would kill the women if anyone stayed outdoors. The apprehensive residents, including women, ran to their homes. Later, the masked men attacked the residence of one Moirangthem Ratankumar,42, a resident of Heirok Mayai Leikai. After the attack, the masked men who were attired in black surrounded the house of Ningthoujam Premchandra. 

It was during that time that Rohit had gone to the back door and was shot at point-blank range, his father was also shot. At the time of the incident, Rohit’s brother, a Congress worker, was not at the residence. Locals alleged that the police and the BSF were present in the area while the shooting was going on but did nothing to stop it. Allegations were made that the police personnel may have been in cahoots with the attacking mob, who were BJP workers.

It may be mentioned that the incumbent BJP MLA, Th Radheshyam and his Congress opponent Moirangthem Okendro are in a straight fight for the upcoming assembly elections, and the poll violence has been escalating. Family members of the deceased told TFM that anarchy is reigning at the Heirok area presently and that the murder of Rohit must not go unpunished. “ This is a dastardly and cowardly act, we will not let this matter rest until the criminals are booked, this is not a fair political campaign, but a murderous one,” Rohit’s aunt told EastMojo. Heirok Police registered a case in this regard.

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