Oil tanker turns turtle, blocks other vehicles
Tension grips Noney post police action

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, May 28 2010: Tension ran high in Noney today following the injuries caused to three persons in police action after an oil tanker turned turtle at Lu-khambi (Khumji) near No- ney along National High-way 53.Amid the confusion and tension following the mishap, the police reacted and resorted to firing.

In condemnation of the incident and alleged inhuman act of the State forces, COPA, ZYF and NPMHR have also called a total bandh in Tamenglong district with effect from midnight of May 28 to midnight of June 3 .

Goods laden trucks and oil tankers were being escorted from Jiribam when one of the diesel tankers accidentally slipped and fell into a gorge.

The over turned oil tanker on NH-53, blocking the passage of other vehicles

In the melee and confusion, the escort party opened blank fire and fired tear gas canisters causing injuries to three persons.

The security personnel also allegedly assaulted some of the villagers.

Following the incident, traffic along the National Highway has been blocked.

On receiving the report of the incident, a media team from Imphal rushed to Noney to get a first hand account of the situation.

Talking to the media team, the villagers informed that at around noon today the diesel tanker bearing registration number MN01-6458 was trailing behind the rest of 120 trucks/oil tankers being escorted from Jiribam when it turned turtle all by itself while climbing up the slope toward Lukhambi village.

Seeing the condition of the oil tanker, the escort party resorted indiscriminate blank firing and tear gas canisters to disperse the innocent villagers who were presence in and around the area as well as in the ground of the village church.

In the process, three persons sustained injuries, the villagers informed.

The villagers said that they are not responsible for the bandh along the National Highway nor harbour enmity with anyone.

So why should the security escort resort to firing their guns on the innocent villagers when the oil tanker met the accident by itself, the villagers questioned.

They also demanded suspension/termination of the security personnel involved in the firing.

The three persons who sustained injuries in the action of the security escort have been identified as Kamei Robinson (28), Ariang Riangmei (45) and Esther Kamei (18), all residents of Lukhambi.

Ariang and Esther have been brought and admitted to RIMS here with the assistance of the 26 Assam Rifles.

Ariang sustained injuries on her thigh while Esther on her hand.

In protest against the action of the security escort comprising Police Commandos and IRB, a large number of angry villagers came out to the street of Noney Bazar.

Vehicles that have left from Imphal today morning have also been forced to halt across the road, thus blocking traffic along the National Highway.

In connection with the incident, DIG (Ops-II) LK Haokip, who has been stationed at Noney, informed that in hearing the report about an oil tanker being attacked with stones by blockade supporters at Lukhambi, a reinforcement team led by CO of 4 IRB rushed in and saw an oil tanker turning upside down and heard sound of firing.

The DIG (OPs-II) said that he had submitted a detailed report of the incident to his higher officials and the DGP has assured that necessary action would be taken up against the guilty police commandos and IRB personnel.

From the manner of the accident, the DIG (Ops-II) opined that it appeared to be the fault of the driver.

The second driver of the ill-fated oil tanker identified as Nganthoi has also reportedly stated the same in his statements to the DIG, CO of 4 IRB, CO of 26 Assam Rifles and Longmai Area Nishaband Society.

Noney village authority has also lodged a complaint with the Noney police station in connection with the incident.

Talking to mediapersons, secretary of Longmai Area Nishaband Society Margaret Kamei made it cleared that the trucks that have been halted across the road would not be allowed to move until an amicable solution has been brought about.

She demanded that the police commandos and the IRB personnel who were responsible for the indiscriminate firing should be suspended or terminated from service and deployment of security personnel including Army, commandos and IRB should be withdrawn from the National Highway.

Meanwhile, police and Assam Rifles are reportedly trying to being about an amicable solution so as to remove the trucks/oil tankers that have been halted across the road.

Condemning the incident, Rongmei Naga Council has demanded that adequate financial assistance should be given to the injured villagers.

The Council has also appealed to ensure such incidents are not repeated in the future.

Extending its support to the total bandh, Naga Youth Front has also directed all its units to fully support the total bandh.

Condemning the incident, All Naga Students' Association, Manipur (ANSAM) has also prayed for speedy recovery of the injured victims.

United Naga Council (UNC) has also strongly condemned the incident and announced its decision of supporting the total bandh.