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Murder of BVHTD Chairman sparks fear of clash between Hmars and Rongmei Nagas

Monday, July 11, 2011

/ Published by Simon L Infimate

Special Correspondent

SILCHAR, July 10: Babul Rongmei (43), chairman of Barak Valley Hill Tribe Development Council was murdered in cold blood this morning at his Sabashpur Rongmei Naga Punji near Silchar Medical College and Hospital, seven km from here. Three motor bike born youths with helmets came before his two storey building, after parking their black Pulsar, two of them went upstairs, entered the drawing-cum-bedroom of Babul, who was then watching news telecast of a satellite channel. One among them brought out a pistol and fired from close range at his left side forehead. Babul died instantly, profusely bleeding. His mother, wife and a five-year daughter who were inside on hearing the shot and looking at the lifeless body of Babul screamed and shouted for help.

The brother-in-law of Babul Rongmei, Babuti Rongmei (18), who was on the ground floor, raised alarm and tried to prevent the motorbike criminals from fleeing with their bike. The pistol bearing youth shot at his leg who fell down but could grab one of them. On being alarmed, hundreds of villagers by then had assembled and they could catch hold of the assailant and ultimately due to merciless beating and battering by the mob, he was grasping for breath. When brought to Silchar Medical College and Hospital by the police, he was declared dead after a few hours of his admission.

A strong police force led by DSP headquarters Lekhak Saikia, city police Mukut Kakoti and Ghungoor police outpost-in-charge Nipu Kalita rushed to the spot on receiving information of the brutal killing. They could identify the pistol carrying youth as Blinkson Hmar from Manipur. From his possession were recovered an American-made pistol with 10 round of ammunition, a mobile set, photograph of a woman and other incriminating papers. These materials, said a police official, would provide them definite clues to nab the other two accomplices of the assailant Blinkson.

Police after preliminary investigation could get the hint that the youths, professional killers on ‘operation’, were hired by some persons who had been opposed to his appointment as the chairman of the BV Hill Tribe Development Council. It is to be recalled that Babul Rongmei took over the charge of chairmanship a few months ago by an order of the State Government.

In the meantime, SDPO Lakhipur Kiran Kumar Barua along with the second officer of the police station launched a search operation in the suspected areas and took into custody Alimai Kamaei for questioning. His interrogation at Lakhipur police station was going on. Alimai Kamaei was a member of the BV Hill Tribe Development Council headed by Nursungthang Hmar. Both Nursungthang and Alimai Kamaei were charge-sheeted by police for various corrupt practices, jailed and released on bail. The police went in search for Nursungthang at his Hmarkhawlein village, but, according to SDPO, he was absconding. SDPO said that the black Pulsar bearing ‘MN-01W-4616’ used by the assailant and his two accomplices was found abandoned at Binnakandi Part-II Rongmei village in Lakhipur subdivision. It was done as a part of their pre meditated plan to shift the blame for the murder on Rongmei Nagas, a community to which Babul belonged.

According to a close aide of Babul Rongmei, after assuming the charge of chairman of BVHTDC on February 21, 2011, he had sought police protection for him as he feared threat to his life for exposing the corruptions of his predecessor Nursungthang Hmar and his other members. But, it was not provided. Babutai Rongmei, a college student, who was admitted in SMCH with bullet in his right leg was recovering well. Babul left behind his aged father, mother, wife and a five-year daughter. After post mortem, his body was taken to his residence at Sabashpur. His friends, relatives and well wishers would take his body to his native village of Ujan Tarapur tomorrow for last rites and cremation according to Hindu tradition.

Rongmei’s murder has sparked fears of a clash between Rongmei Nagas and Hmars as the assassin reportedly belonged to the Hmar community. Security forces have been put on high alert in the district. & The Telegraph

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