TODAY -

Lifer for Hopeson Ningshen
Source: Hueiyen News Service

Imphal/Delhi, June 30 2014: After more than 5 years of committing the crime, Hopeson Ningshen, a 'Lt Col" of NSCN-IM's Kiusumong battalion, who was convicted for abduction and murder of Dr Thingnam Kishan, the then SDO of Kasom Khullen and his two subordinate staffs namely Revenue Mandal Yumnam Token and driver Aribam Rajen Sharma, was awarded life term by a special court of CBI at New Delhi today.

Handing down the jail term, Special CBI Judge V K Gupta held Hopeson Ningshen guilty of offences under various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) for not only abducting Dr Thingnam Kishan Singh and two subordinate staffs but also robbing and killing them after conspiring with other armed militants of National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM) group.

Punishment for the offences included life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000, the default of payment of which could lead to rigorous imprisonment for another 6 months under 120 B IPC; rigorous imprisonment for 7 years and a fine of Rs 5000, the default of which could lead to rigorous imprisonment for another 3 months under 392 IPC Section 120 B; life imprisonment and a fine of Rs.10,000 , the default of which would lead to rigorous imprisonment for another 6 months under 364A r/w 120 B IPC and life imprisonment and a fine of Rs.10,000, the default of which again could lead to rigorous imprisonment for 6 more months in jail under section 302 of IPC r/w Section 120 B .

For the crime of looting the deceaseds' belongings, Ningshen was also asked to pay a fine of Rs 35,000. The case of triple murder that sent shock waves across the State was transferred to Delhi from Manipur on the Supreme Court's direction in May 2010 after CBI had apprehended a threat to Ningshen's life and chances of unrest in the state if he was presented in a Manipur court.

After a long case hearing and deferment of the judgement for almost half a dozen times, the Special CBI Court located at Patiala House, New Delhi on May 30 last finally pronounced Hopeson Ningshen as guilty of abducting Dr Kishan and five other members of his personal staff from Ukhrul district on February 13, 2009 with the help of other armed cadres of NSCN (IM).

The following day of the abduction, the armed militants let off three of the abducted people namely Ram Singh Siro, Ramthing Singlai and Kapangkhui Jajo while killing Dr Kishan, Y Token and A Rajen Sharma.

Their bodies were recovered from the bank of a river in Taphao Kuki village in Senapati district.

During hearing of the quantum of punishment to be given in the Special CBI court today, Senior Public Prosecutor (PP) AK Singh demanded capital punishment for the accused and referred to other cases where capital punishments were awarded on the basis of "circumstantial evidences" .

The Public Prosecutor argued that Dr.Kishan Singh and his two associates were murdered while on duty as public servants and not while sleeping in the comfort of their homes.

Pointing out that Dr Kishan had been called for an interview by the then DC of Ukhrul district Pankaj Kumar Pal on February 13, 2009, the Senior PP drew the attention of the court to the "method", "manner" and brutality of the crime and observed that the triple murder had larger implications for the whole state of Manipur as Imphal was virtually paralysed for many days in protest against the murders.

The heinous nature of the crime and the selective killing of the three "unarmed" helpless people who were in the "custody" of the accused indicated a certain design to create a "fear psychosis" among the people, the senior Public Prosecutor contended.

Requesting the Judge for the separation of trials of the remaining two accused namely Abo Shibo and Johnny in the case, the senior PP also informed the court that they have been "tracked down" and there is the possibility of their arrests soon.

In defence of the accused, Advocate Pancholi presented the mitigating circumstances against the award of capital punishment and argued that capital punishment in itself is a hugely debated and controversial form of punishment.

Pancholi pointed out that the evidences against Hopeson Ningshen were merely circumstantial and that capital punishment must be awarded only in the absence of a single mitigating circumstance.

The defence counsel further argued that in surrendering himself to the authorities, Hopeson was guided by "higher considerations" than his own life and that peace was restored in the state after his being taken into police custody.

"His surrender indicated how the crime has impacted his conscience as also the possibility of reformation in future", Pancholi said.

In addition to this, he also pointed out that the accused has no prior history of offences against law and that he is not a menace to society.

His constructive role in resolving the stand-off between NSCN (IM) cadres and the Assam Rifles prior to the murder was also highlighted.

Meanwhile, with the passing of the judgement by the Special Court of CBI, the Joint Action Committee formed against the triple murder of Dr Kishan, Token and Rajen has been dissolved from today, according to its convenor Kapur.


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