DGP negates UNC, ANSAM charge
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, November 06 2011:
Affirming that the police department has no intention to harm or inflict injuries on civilians, Director General of Police Y Joykumar said provocative action by the mob compelled police personnel to fire tear gas.
Reacting to newspapers report of UNC and ANSAM accusing Manipur police commandos and IRB personnel of high handedness at Noney town on November 4, the police chief presented a detailed account of events that prompted the police team to swing into action to control the situation from going out of hand.
A statement issued by the DGP clarified that bandh supporters at Noney stopped two Tata Sumos coming towards Imphal on November 4 morning and subsequently burnt them down at about 8 am.
Police party which had gone for duty to Tousem in connection with the visit of the Union Home Minister, on their way back to Imphal could not cross Noney area before midnight of November 3, said the statement.
Maintaining that information was received that the crowd which had burnt down the two Tata Sumos was still assembled at Noney to stop the Police party returning from Tousem, Joykumar explained that as the police team returning from Tousem had not carried any tear gas equipment, they would have had to open fire if stopped and attacked, which 'we did not want to happen' .
Subsequently 12 teams of CDO along with tear gas equipment were sent from Imphal to retrieve the police team but the reinforcement team upon reaching Noney was blocked by the bandh supporters.
Contrary to the police warning them to clear the road, more people started gathering at the scene leading to the police personnel initially firing a few tear gas shells to disperse the crowd and managing to proceed ahead.
The bandh supporters again blocked the road when the police commandos returned along with the Tousem Team from Awangkhul, said the DGP adding that the public were asked to make way for the convoy but without any success.
A stern warning was issued to clear the road but when the warning was also not heeded even after 10 minutes or so, and instead, the mob started pelting stones, hurling missiles to the police personnel, the police party resorted to firing tear gas and clear the route.
In the altercation, windshield of two police vehicles were broken in addition to two police personnel sustaining injuries.
The police department had no intention of hurting or injuring any civilians other than allowing safe passage of the police team returning from Tousem.
However, it was the bandh supporters who were actively indulging in burning of vehicles, damage to public properties without any provocation, said the DGP.
Dismissing the contention that the crowd at Noney was a peaceful one and police resorted to firing of tear gas without any provocation as totally false, Joykumar posed 'How can a crowd which had resorted to burning of two Tata Sumos and resorted to stone pelting to the police party be treated as a peaceful one ? .
Reminding that a number of arson cases had taken place at Noney, the DGP cited burning of a DI Tata vehicle of police department on October 23 by the mob at Noney bazaar while negotiation was still on by the SP (Tamenglong), burning of the two Tata Sumos in between Noney and Awangkhul on November 4 and burning of Noney police out post vehicles after police commandos left Noney on the same day to illustrate violent nature of the crowd at Noney.
Affirming that Police Department always try to avoid confrontation with any crowd as far as possible, he said "We have shown restrain and patience throughout the blockade called by the Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee and counter-blockade called by UNC" .
It was only after things have gone beyond tolerable limit that police resorted to confrontation such as when the Works Minister was unreasonably stopped and attacked by SHDDC supporters, said the DGP.
"Similar is the case in respect of the incident at Noney on November 4," the State police chief explained and observed that it would be wrong to take the entire State to ransom on unreasonable ground by any group leading to the intolerable suffering by the people.
"We have respected the bandh called by UNC by not confronting them except the unavoidable incident at Noney on November", he conveyed while making an earnest appeal to various groups calling bandh or blockade to opt for non-violent democratic means of protest only so that such agitation do not cause undue suffering to the common people.
The blockade has gone for too long and it is time for all of us to do some introspection and think about the common people, suggested Joykumar.