Manipur sets up committee to investigate soldier’s killing

The Manipur governor on Monday constituted a one-member committee to probe into the abduction and killing of an off-duty Indian army soldier hours after chief minister N Biren Singh assured the deceased’s family that “stringent action” will be taken against the guilty.

Manipur governor forms committee to probe into the abduction and murder of an off-duty soldier. (HT Photo)

Sepoy Serto Thangthang Kom (41) was abducted by militants from his home in front of his son. His body was found on Sunday with a gunshot wound to the head.

“The state government is of the opinion that it is necessary to institute a one-man inquiry commission to ascertain the facts and circumstances leading to the death of Serto Thangthang Kom,” the order issued by commissioner (home) T Ranjit Singh on behalf of Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey said.

On Monday, office bearers of Kom Union Manipur (KUM) met the chief minister and demanded that a “proper inquiry” be conducted in the incident. The deceased soldier belonged to the Kom tribe.

“He (Singh) agreed to conduct a high-level inquiry under an inspector general-ranked officer in connection with the killing… the CM also assured us that stringent action will be taken against those who committed the heinous crime,” KUM spokesperson Boyes Kom said.

Family members of the soldier agreed to take his body from Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) morgue after the postmortem examination is conducted on Tuesday, following CM’s assurances, the tribal organisation said. The family said that Sepoy Thangthang will be buried in his village, Litan in Chandel district.

The tribal body also received assurance that compensation will be given to the next of kin of the slain sepoy. “The CM hasannounced a compensation of 5 lakh to the family of the deceased and a government job for the widow of the soldier,” the organisation said, adding that Singh promised that security cover will be provided at all Kom villages of the state.

Meanwhile, residents of 53 Kom villages organised a sit-In protest at seven places, demanding justice for the death and provision of adequate security for the community.

Army officials told HT on condition of anonymity said that the people involved in the killing of the sepoy are yet to be arrested. Police officers of Imphal West district, where the soldier was abducted from, and Imphal East, where his body was found, did not divulge information about the investigation.

Kom’s murder is the second in a week of a service police of security force officer killed over the ethnic clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities.

On September 13, sub inspector Ongmang Haokip (35), who was on duty in Churachandpur’s Chingphei outpost, was shot dead by militants. At least 176 people have been killed and around 50,000 have been displaced in the ethnic violence that began on May 3 in Manipur.

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