More bodies found at Manipur ambush site

More bodies found at Manipur ambush site

The situation turned tense again in Manipur’s Chandel and neighbouring Thoubal districts after three bodies were recovered during a combing operation by security forces on Sunday evening from a forest very close to the site where 18 Army jawans were killed in an ambush last Thursday.

Manipur Police sources said the bodies—still unidentified when this report was filed—were found in a dense forest near Paraolon village in the Chandel district.
Security forces are extremely tight-lipped about the identity of the bodies, which have been moved to the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in state capital Imphal for post-mortem.

A massive combing operation has been underway in Chandel along the porous Indo-Bangladesh border since Friday after the ambush, which also injured 15 jawans of 6 Dogra regiment.

Army sources said the operation encompasses an area with a radius of 20 km around the ambush site. It was during this search that the bodies were found.

Meanwhile, residents of the Tonsen Kullen village, very close to the ambush site, have reported that four people from their village—all licensed hunters, went out with their licenced guns on the day of the ambush, but never returned. They were supposed to be hunting in the area where the ambush took place.

The Manipur Police has confirmed to Deccan Herald that an FIR has been lodged with the Sugnu Police Station about the four missing hunters. The villagers are apprehensive that they might have been killed either by militants or during combing operation by the security forces.

The news of recovery of the three bodies and disappearance of four people has raised apprehensions of a fake encounter, which are very common in Manipur.
Rights groups are very apprehensive that the Army might commit human right violations in its scaled-up operations against militants.

Meanwhile, Tengnoupal SDPO Sadananda, the investigation officer of the case taken up by the Tengnoupal police in connection with the ambush, and the NIA team have started investigations into the attack.

During search operation since Friday, security forces have recovered an AK-series rifle, empty cases and empty shells of a lathode gun from the ambush site, said the sources.

The case is being probed under Sections 302, 307, 120B and 121A of the IPC, Section 25 (I-C) of the Arms Act, Section 5 of the Explosive Substance Act and Sections 16 and 20 of the UA(P) Act.

Although no arrest has been made, NIA sources from Guwahati have confirmed that they have started interrogating a few people the security forces have rounded up.

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