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Police commando among 2 shot dead in pre-poll violence in Manipur

 
Imphal, Jan 10 (IANS) Two people, including a police commando, were shot dead by unknown assailants at Wangoi in Imphal West district, police officials said on Monday.

A police official said that the unidentified gunmen suspected to be militants came in a small car late on Sunday night and fired at Abujam John, 57 and Abujam Tomba, 37 while they were talking on the street at Wangoi, 30 km from capital city Imphal.

John died on the way to the hospital and Tomba, a police commando, succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Imphal on Monday.

The security forces launched a massive search operation immediately after the incident to nab the attackers. This is the first pre-poll violence after the Election Commission announced the schedule of the elections to the 60-member Manipur Assembly on Saturday.

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and Agriculture Minister Oinam Lukhoi visited the area and met the families of the victims.

The Chief Minister while talking to the media later said that the government would go all out to apprehend the culprits.

"The violence was perpetrated by the vested interests, people who do not want peace in Manipur and are trying to get the political advantage ahead of the elections," the Chief Minister said.

The agitated local people of the areas blocked the road on Monday and burnt tyres to protest the killings. Demanding immediate arrests of the assailants, local residents alleged that the killings were done with a political purpose as one of the deceased (Abujam John) was a BJP worker and an aide of state Agriculture Minister.

The pre-poll violence has increased in Manipur, where Assembly elections would be held in two phases on February 27 and March 3. The counting of votes will take place on March 10.

Sunday's incident was the fifth violent incident in the last 54 days in Manipur, though none has been arrested so far in connection with these attacks, nor has any outfit claimed responsibility for the blasts yet.

An Assam Rifles jawan was killed and another injured after a powerful IED was detonated at Lilong Usoipokpi Sangomsang in Thoubal district on January 5.

Earlier in November and December, three powerful IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) were detonated in different places though none were injured as the blasts were done in the wee hours, but damaged the properties.

On November 13, in a deadliest attack, an Assam Rifles Colonel, his wife and son, and four jawans of the paramilitary force were gunned down by the militants in Churachandpur district bordering Myanmar.

--IANS
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