TODAY -

Bestial Act
- Legal action against the arsonists needed -
- Hueiyen Lanpao Editorial :: October 27, 2008 -



GOOD THINGS never seem to happen to the people of Manipur. Talk about bad things and misfotunes, they certainly come in battalions to the Manipuris.

The dust and smoke from the bomb blast at Ragailong village in Imphal had not yet settled and the mournful cries of the dear and near ones of those seventeen persons killed in the blast had only echoed louder when the news came that a Manipur tourist bus had been set afire by unknown armed persons in Assam just beyond the Nagaland border on October 23.

And that two passengers - a man and a woman were charred to death inside the bus itself. The terrible news has shocked every sensible citizen of Manipur. The two passengers, when finally identified, turned out to be two Zeliangrong tribals. Then amidst condemnations in the strongest terms, the perpetrators of the savage crime audaciously owned up to committing it.

The reasons the Kuki militant group-Kuki Liberation Organisation (KLO)/Kuki Liberation Army (KLA) gave for the act that the All Manipur Inter State Bus Association had refused to pay "annual taxes" to the group at the instigation of one person employed at the Imphal Airbus Travels sounded hollow, considering the degree of cruelty that resulted in the burning of two innocent human beings alive to death .

The KLO/KLA is one of the many Kuki armed militant outfits which are presently on a tripartite agreement on Suspension of Operation (SoO) with the Union Government and the State Government and is bound by the rules of the SoO.

It is obvious that the rules prohibit all the armed militant outfits to move around carrying arms and indulge in any kind of activity to extort money from individuals or group of people.

Murder, looting, hijacking and nothing to say of setting on fire a passenger bus are the very kind of activities the SoO agreement seeks to bring to an end.

The SoO agreement is meant to end all violent activities involving the armed militant groups and make a sincere attempt to solve whatever problems there are in a peaceful manner by talking about them, sitting face to face at the table. So, the SoO agreement basically means a joint effort by all parties involved to bring about peace.

But what the KLO/KLA did on the night of October 23 at Lahorijan in the Assam-Nagaland border is a flagrant violation of the agreement on SoO.

Just because one man employed at a travel agency instigated the bus owners' association not to pay annual taxes to the said outfit and did something to provoke it, how could one justify the act of setting on fire a bus belonging to the travel agency roasting two innocent persons alive to death?

And it the death of the two persons was an accidental mistake as the KLO/KLA had claimed, then there should be some accountability and responsibility for the mistake. Like what actions would be taken against those who committed the mistake so that such mistakes should not be repeated in future?

Just saying 'sorry' can never be a sufficient substitute for snuffing out two innocent souls.

How can anyone be let scot free after committing a brutal crime as that of Lahorijan on October 23? The Centre and the state government must take up stringent action including legal against the group concerned.

Steps should also be taken to prevent any of the groups signatory to the agreement on SoO from committing similar brutal acts.

SoO mustn't be allowed to be used as a masquerade by the armed outfits to do whatever they please to satisfy their personal urges like in extortion, taking vengeance, killing and destroying other people's property.





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