Two kidnapped workers of Manipur dam project found dead

Imphal, Jan 29 (IANS) Two of the three workers of the Maphou dam project in Manipur’s Senapati district who were kidnapped by unidentified armed Kuki cadres were found shot dead on Sunday while the third was rescued unharmed, the state police said.

A Kuki tribal alleged to be one of the kidnappers has been arrested.

The police said that the workers — Kangujam Thoi, a helper, JCB driver Kangujam Tompok, and truck driver Khumukcham Bije from Itham — were kidnapped from the project site on January 26 by armed Kukis. The police added they are trying to establish identity of the outfit.

The three were held captive in the Monroi village in neighbouring Ukhrul district. On Sunday, some cadre of the Kuki Liberation Army had an exchange of fire with the kidnappers, during which the two captives were fatally hit in cross-fire.

The police say that one of the kidnappers identified as Thangminlien Khongsai was caught and handed over for interrogation.

Most of the Kuki outfits had signed the suspension of operations with the central government. Major ground rules of the agreements are that the militants cannot carry arms and indulge in terrorist acts including kidnappings for ransom.

Initial reports say that the three workers were kidnapped to extract hefty ransom from the project officials. Since the two killed workers are non-tribals, there is a fear that there may be a communal fallout.

Leaders of the Kuki Impi Manipur and other civil society organisations held a meeting in Manipur to deal with the issue. Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has asked the state administration to take up all necessary steps to check follow-up violence.