TODAY -

Editorial of the week

Merchants of Death
Courtesy: The Sangai Express 04th January, 2007



Kidnapping or abducting for ransom cannot be justified on any ground and this act becomes all that more abhorrent when the victim is a child.

Manipur has seen some high profile cases of children being kidnapped for ransom with only the mortal remains of the children being discovered after days of anxious moments.

The first high profile case of a child being kidnapped occurred many years back, when Deepak Jain was kidnapped from near his school and his lifeless body was discovered later.

The State police managed to unmask the identities of the killers but the manner in which some of them were eliminated by the police left many dissatisfied for the simple fact that the larger truth or the possible existence of a bigger conspiracy was effectively erased with the elimination of those involved in the kidnapping and later gruesome murder of the school going child.

Manipur or rather Imphal witnessed anxious days as soon as words of the kidnapping of Deepak Jain started doing the round and the manner in which the business community of the commercial areas of Imphal like Paona bazar and Thangal bazar demanded the deployment of Central security force and not the State police did not cast the State law enforcing agency in any good light.

The second is without a doubt the kidnapping and later murder of Lungnila Elizabeth in 2003. Her memory continues to haunt the collective conscience of the people and what is appalling is the fact that the case still remains unsolved.

The main accused, James Kuki, is purported to be in the custody of the NSCN (IM) and the last we heard of him was that he has been granted parole for a certain period of time.

We still recollect the way the Special Investigation Team kept on barking up the wrong tree one after the other, while the main accused was ostensibly safely ensconced in a quarter at Langol. The case has been handed over to the CBI, and since then no one seems to know in which direction the investigation is proceeding.

Once again two kids are under the custody of the merchants of death.

A file picture of Muheni Martin (10) and A Hriini Hubert (10)
The two kids, both Class III students of Don Bosco School, Senapati were kidnapped on December 14 and while numerous civil society organisations have issued appeals and prayers for the safe release of the children, no one knows where the kids are today or whether they are still alive or not.

We do pray that our worst fear is proved wrong. We are not experts or professionals to solve cases like kidnapping or looking for clues but there are still certain questions that need to be raised.

What progress has the Senapati police made in the investigation of the case ?
Is the kidnapping the handiwork of some rag tag army of desperadoes or a well organised gang, whose activities spread far and wide ?
Are any of the established armed groups involved, directly or indirectly in the case ?
Has the police set up any special team to investigate the case or is it being treated as just another criminal case ?

Taking the fact that the children have disappeared without a trace since December 14, the possibility of the involvement of professionals or a well organised gang ready to gamble with the lives of children cannot be simply wished away.

No ordinary folk can keep two little kids hidden away from the eyes of the public for such a long time. This requires a well connected set of networks.

This is what makes the present case all that more disturbing and frightening.

On the other hand it is a little disconcerting to see that the voice of protest against the kidnapping and appeals for the safe release of the two kids have not reached the desired level from the civil society organisations based at Imphal.




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