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Nagaland

Thousands march in Kohima to protest killing of cop

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By Our Correspondent Updated: Sep 20, 2018 12:10 am
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Citizens in Kohima town rally for justice at a public procession that was organised by community organisations on Wednesday protesting the killing of a police officer. (EM Image)

Kohima, Sep. 19 (EMN): Thousands of people took to the streets in Nagaland’s capital town Kohima on Wednesday in a silent procession demanding justice for a police officer, Neiphretuo Metsie-o, who was found dead on September 15.

The procession was called by the Angami Public Organisation (APO) following the capture of two persons accused of killing the officer. The accused were identified as a Yuireingam Shimray and one Ringthinchon.

In a display of solidarity, hundreds of people from different communities joined the Angami people in the two-kilometre procession, which commenced from the old MLA Hostel junction till the BSNL office below the chief minister’s official residence, where the APO submitted a memorandum to the state’s Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio.

The crowd converged at the old MLA Hostel junction and held a brief function where the APO’s President Kepelhousie Terhüja, Angami Youth Organisation’s (AYO) President Neinguvotuo Krose, and Chiechama Village Council’s Chairman Neitso Sogotsu addressed the gathering. They shared the sentiment that the killing of Metsie-o, a law enforcer, deeply hurt the sentiments of the Angami community. They acknowledged the citizens of Kohima who had come out to stand in solidarity with the community, denouncing the killing as an act that has no place in the society.

In its memorandum to the chief minister, the APO ‘outrightly’ condemned the alleged murder of Metsie-o on the September 7 and demanded that the state’s government provide every detail of the investigation report. The organisation stated it was aware that “there are elements at play which have abetted and are complicit to this crime.”

The organization also expressed concern that not one CCTV camera installed at the entry and exit points of the capital town were functioning. It demanded that the government immediately install “hi-tech state-of-the-art CCTV cameras” in all the exit and entry points of Kohima particularly in the state’s border areas with Manipur.

“We shall not accept anything less than the severest punishment to the two criminals. We strongly warn that any external forces interfering in the investigating process or anyone trying to bail out the culprits shall be doing so at their own risk. We trust your government would initiate all necessary measures to immediately deliver justice and avoid the matter going beyond control for the larger interest of peace and good sense,” the APO asserted.

Mob vandalises district jail
After the procession following the submission of the memorandum to the chief minister, a group of youths tried to break into the Kohima district jail, claiming that the two accused were being lodged there.

The unruly group vandalised the district jail’s premises and partially damaged several vehicles belonging to prison authorities. Police personnel assisted by AYO volunteers, brought the situation under control. The two main accused were apprehended from neighbouring Manipur and Assam states the previous week and have been brought to the custody of the Nagaland police.

Although they were dispersed, some of the unruly mob continued to harass shopkeepers and passers-by as they made their way back to the town. They allegedly stopped random vehicles and harassed the public.

Gripped by tension of a possible communal backlash, heavy security has been deployed to several areas of the town. According to updates from the district administration, the situation has been brought under control.

Media person harassed; journalists flay
A news editor of a national media house who was covering the procession was harassed by some of the mob, besides partially damaging the vehicle she was travelling in.

Following the incident, the Kohima Press Club (KPC) has expressed dismay at the unwarranted behavior shown to one of its members on duty.

“The incident happened after the procession got over and movement of vehicles had resumed when a group of rowdy protesters stopped the car carrying the news editor, demanding to know where she was from. Even after she identified herself as a media person who was on duty, several unidentified protesters went around the vehicle and broke the rear windshield with some blunt objects,” a statement from the KPC said.

The organization called it ‘highly unfortunate’ that during public demonstrations, processions, or agitations, media persons on duty are blatantly harassed and targeted for no reason.

“The KPC is seized with apprehension that such unruly actions bring to question the safety and security of journalists, particularly in a society and state like ours which professes freedom of the media along with the rest of the country.

“While we condemn the act meted out on our member, we appeal to all responsible authorities, public leaders and the public in general, to respect each other’s rights and duties, and uphold the functioning and growth of the Fourth Estate. After all, we the media fraternity are in the service of the public, including those protesting crowd/individuals who will be relying on us to present the correct picture of the happenings to the readers and to the world at large,” the KPC reminded.

6103
By Our Correspondent Updated: Sep 20, 2018 12:10:23 am