Hito Sumi, the apprehended NSCN (K-YA) rebel, undergoing treatment at Zunheboto district hospital in Nagaland

Kohima: In response to several reports suggesting that Assam Rifles personnel assaulted a youth in the state, the paramilitary force clarified through a press release that it condemns such attempts at maligning its image.

Hito Sumi, a self-styled captain of the NSCN (K-YA), in custody of Assam Rifles

A press release from the public relations officer of IGAR and Defence Kohima said, “With reference to news articles titled ‘AR personnel assault youth, women in Zunheboto’, ‘Assam Rifles accused of assaulting women in Zbto’, ‘ZSTH flays AR : threatens to down shutters in Zbto’, published in local dailies, Assam Rifles strongly rejects the claims as a malicious attempt at maligning the image of the Assam Rifles.”

It clarified that on August 7, based on specific inputs of the presence of an armed rebel of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (K-Yung Aung) faction in Project Colony, Zunheboto, troops of Assam Rifles launched an operation around 5.30 pm along with a police representative from Zunheboto police station. “On reaching the intended location it was observed that the locals, women included, were beating up an individual. The Assam Rifles troops then intervened to save this individual,” the press release said.

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“Hito Sumi [was] then also spotted in the crowd and apprehended. The crowd then turned violent and began pulling out the apprehended cadre from the custody of Assam Rifles. Exercising absolute restraint, the troops managed to move the armed cadre away from the mob to a secure location where the individual was found to be in possession of a 9 mm Pistol,” the release further said.

On questioning him, it was revealed that he was a SS Capt [self-styled captain] of NSCN (K-YA) faction, the release said.

“It is reiterated that the Assam Rifles troops exercised absolute restraint and did not harm or assault anyone among the public with rifle butts as is being alleged. The apprehended cadre was neither tortured nor ill-treated prior to handing him over to Zunheboto Police Station. This has been confirmed by a doctor from the district hospital in Zunheboto,” it said.

The statement further said: “Hito Sumi is a brown sugar addict and a TB patient. After his arrest on August 7, signs of withdrawal symptoms were noticed and he had to be admitted for medical attention. The photo of Hito being circulated on social media with several stitches on his head has been falsely represented. Hito is currently admitted in the hospital with police guard and is being treated for substances abuse addiction and tuberculosis ailment.”

Hito was taken to Zunheboto district hospital on Saturday where he is admitted and there are no marks of injury on him.

“It may be noted that reports of arrest of SS Capt Hito Sumi had already appeared in the media on 10 Aug 19,” it maintained.

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