Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, September 12:
Tension continues to grip Borobekra area of Jiribam sub division bordering Assam after people belonging to Bengali and Muslim communities allegedly bashed up three Bishnupriyas publicly in the presence of Army personnel on September 7. Denouncing the assault, the minority Meiteis and Bishnupriyas had been imposing indefinite general strike at the area inhabited by about 3000 people and brining to a screeching halt normal activities.
PRO of Assam Rifles, Colonel Rajesh Mishra when contacted dismissed the allegations as totally baseless and concocted saying “it was an attempt to malign the image and reputation of the Army.
“Giving his side of the story, Mishra said that the three men were manhandled by a mob of about 2000 drawn from different communities, other than the one to which they belong.
“The three then ran towards the Army post at Sotobekra, where they were given shelter and later dropped at their respective places.
“If it was not the Army, then how could they have reached their places,” he countered.
As to why they were targeted by the mob, the PRO said that on the said day (September 7) a huge convoy of the security personnel left the post for flood relief operations at Assam.
“The mob thought that the security personnel were leaving following hectic lobbying and instigation by the three persons,” he explained.
The three – Pukhrambam Jiten (42), Pukhrambam Rakeshwar (58) and Thokchom Anilkumar (34) who fled from their homesteads fearing reprisals from the both the Army and the majority communities are currently staying in the State capital.
Recounting the incident, Jiten told reporters here that he along with Rakeshwar and Anilkumar were invited to attend a meeting held at a ground adjacent to the post of Rashtriya Rifles (RR) at Sotobekra (under Borbekra Gram Panchayat) on Friday last.
The meeting convened by the majority Bengali community centred around shifting of the Army post from Sotobekra.
Amid the meeting one-army personnel called him out and before long “I along with Rakeshwar and Anilkumar were charged of plotting to shift the post and forced us to tender an apology”.
Before long the majority community members led by the Bengalis, who attended the meeting began thrashing all three of them and finding no way for their rescue they rushed inside a room of the Army “but instead of saving us we were chased out by some Army men and they too joined the bashing by using sticks”.
Finally the Army put the situation under control and handed them over to Jiribam police station.
On Saturday they were admitted to Jiribam hospital, Jiten said adding that at the hospital some Army men came and asked them to testify that they (Army) didn’t bash them in the incident.
They however declined to endorse the Army’s plea.
“We have nothing to do with the shifting of the Army post from Sotobekra nor is it our business”, Jiten said while disclosing that before fleeing to Imphal they lodged a complaint on the matter at Jiribam police station against the Bengali community and the Army for their highhandedness.
The Army hate the minority Meiteis and Bishnupriyas because the latter communities always declined to oblige forced labour ordered by the former, the trio said while opining that this could be the main reason for them (Army) to support the majority Bengalis and Muslims.
Owing to the heavy thrashing the trio complained of pain in the chest, stomach and back.
They appealed to all concerned to intervene immediately so that to bring normalcy can be restored at Borobekra.