Tension grips Mao as 3 persons die in police firing
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal/Mao , May 06 2010: At least three persons have been killed when security forces fired tear gas shells, mock bombs and live bullets to control a crowd who were vandalising and setting afire police vehicles and other goods kept at Mao Town Hall after their attempt to take out a protest rally against the State Cabinet decision to bar Th Muivah from visiting Manipur was foiled by security forces at around 11 am today.

Many other protesters also sustained injuries even as a smoke gun used by police has gone missing.

From top to bottom: The Naga MLAS who have resigned address the media at New Delhi, villagers packing up for safer climes apprehending a major show down at Mao, police firing tear gas to control situation at Mao, the injured persons being treated

The three persons killed in police firing have been identified as Loshua S/o Daikho (BA 2nd year St Joseph's College), Jakhama, Kalinama village; Chakho S/o Nelli (BA 2nd Year, St Joseph's Evening College), Kalinama village and Lokho, MA student S/o Nishini, of Songsong village.

It is reported that those who sustained injuries were undergoing treatment at Mao Primary Health Centre and other hospitals in Nagaland.

One Lokho (19) s/o Neshini of Song Song village, Mao who was hit by a tear gas shell on the head is reported to be undergoing treatment in a critical condition in a private hospital at Kohima.

Following the incident, a group of protesters rounded up one IRB bus driver and assaulted him severely.

They also set ablaze an IRB bus.

However, except for the rear portion and some seats, no major damage was done to the bus.

It is further reported that the protesters also vandalised fuel tank of another IRB truck.

Consequent upon today's skirmish, people living in and around Mao have fled to safer places apprehending a major show down.

Reporters from Imphal who had gone to Mao to cover the story were advised by the hotel management to shift to a safer place and as of now they are taking shelter at the camp of the 22 Assam Rifles.

Meanwhile, a joint press release issued by the Tangkhul Naga Long, Tangkhul Shanao Long, Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong, Tangkhul Mayar Ngala Long and the Tangkhul Naga Wungnao Long said that Meli Chakho and Loshu were shot dead at point blank range while they were hiding inside the community hall.

It said that the security forces fired more than 70 rounds of tear-gas shells and there was continuous gunfire for almost two hours, injuring more than 70 individuals, some in critical conditions.

"All these events have forced us to conclude that the Government of Manipur is not for the Nagas.

We are further constrained to say that this action of the Government of Manipur has made us more resolute in our struggle for our rights and justice", the Tangkhul bodies said.

"We still hope that a peaceful solution can be achieved but let this hope not be interpreted as weakness on our part.

We are now more certain that we have to stand up against the tyranny of the Government of Manipur", they added.

They also prayed for the precious lives lost while also declaring that it would not go in vain.