TODAY -
Torture slur cast on 'SF'
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 19 2009: Some Hindi speaking personnel suspected to be Army allegedly tortured and tried to extract money from Elangbam Toto, who is the advisor of the Keishampat Laisom Leirak based industrial unit, Hiro Hito Tracksuit Industry that has been set up with bank loans and monetary contributions from among the members with the main objective of providing self employment.

According to information received by the press, two persons including one Hindi-speaking man clad in camouflage uniform with half hoods on his face and the other in civvies came to the office of the industry at around 8.30 pm of January 17 and called out Toto from his office on the pretext of having some talks on providing assistance to the industry.

He was released at around 1.30 am after being subjected to severe tortures.

In protest against the incident, employees of Hiro Hito Tracksuit Industry and the local Meira Paibis today staged a Wakat Meepham (protest session) along the embankment of Nambul river at Keishamthong here today.

Calling for clarification on the identities of the security personnel involved and the reason behind such tortures that smack of 'State terrorism,' the protestors put up placards with slogans like 'Protect the civilians', 'We condemn torture of innocent person', 'Stop State terrorism', etc during the demonstration.

Decrying the conduct of the alleged 'security personnel' in torturing Toto, the employees, who are mainly daily wage earners have also reportedly launched a cease work strike since yesterday.

Talking to mediapersons in connection with the incident, Toto recounted that after coming to the industry, the two visitors inspected all the places where the machines are being kept.

But he did not suspect anything as personnel of Army, CRPF and BSF have been frequently visiting the industry bringing supply orders or to purchase goods.

After the inspection, the two intruders asked him whether tracksuits for Faugis (Army personnel) can also be ordered and stitched from his industry and he replied in the affirmative.

During the course of the conversation, the two intruders had observed that small industry-wallahs in Manipur have been facing lot of difficulties due to the prevailing law and order condition, Toto recalled, adding that after the inspection, the two intruders assured assistance to the industry and called him out for having some talks in this regard.

As they were talking and walking along towards Keishampat side, Toto saw a Gypsy in which many persons who looked like Army personnel and holding arms including AK-Rifles were inside stationing not far off.

As soon as they walked pass the Gypsy, somebody blind-folded him from behind.

When he realised what was happening, Toto requested them not to take him away and pleaded that he is a simple man staying along with his two children.

But instead of listening to his pleading, he was pushed inside the Gypsy.

After driving for almost half-an-hour passing through an open space which appeared to be paddy field, the Gypsy was stopped at a spot where the armed personnel charged Toto as a person who extort money from Bazar area and entrusted an gun towards him.

Toto refused to hold the arm and refuted the charges.

Afterward Toto was taken inside a small room and threatened to be killed if he did not admit to the charges while one of them tried to strangulate him.

As he was choking for breathe, he waved his hand indicating to stop and that he would like to say something and instantly the hands that were clasping around his neck were removed.

Then introducing himself as a simple man who has played football for over 20 years, Toto dared the alleged Army personnel to keep him in their custody as he could help in eliminating anti-social elements in Elangbam Leikai area.

After talking for sometime, it appeared to him that the alleged Army personnel wanted money from him.

So just to save his life, Toto assured to give Rs 50,000 .

But the alleged army personnel demanded Rs 1.50 lakhs and he agreed.

Consequently, he was brought back and set free from Keishampat area, Toto informed.

Toto further informed before being released, he had also been threatened by the alleged Army personnel not to disclose the matter to anyone and mobile phone number 9862879100 had been given for further contact.

Toto said that he has been receiving threat calls from the same mobile number asking him to come to the Bazar area and handed over Rs 1 lakh as first instalment.


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