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ICC World Cup Cricket– Double Whammy Glory For India, Tragedy Strikes, Kills Woman At Thoubal

The hole made by the bullet on the roof, the bullet and Thoubal police out on damage control exercise. Image Credit: Sangai Photo.

IMPHAL, Apr 3: The historic moment brought about by the Indian cricket team in winning the ICC World Cup 2011 has turned to be a moment of heart-break and anguish for the people of Thoubal.

What could have been a moment of joy and celebration which would be cherished long after, the heroic achievement of the Indian cricket team brought only tears and sadness as a 75 year old woman was killed after she was hit by a bullet fired allegedly by Assam Rifles personnel in celebration over the Indian team’s historic victory.

Residents of Nongangkhong area in Thoubal district were caught in a terrifying situation when a volley of bullets hit/fell over their homes last night.

Troops of 15 Assam Rifles posted at Thoubal Tomjing Hills fired over hundreds of bullets in celebration of the Indian team’s victory over Sri Lanka in the ICC World Cup final last night.

One of the bullets hit Waikhom (O) Mani Devi (75) of Nongangkhong Bamon Leirak who was then sleeping.

The bullet pierced through the GI sheet roof and hit Mani on the left side of her back.

Even as Mani was immediately rushed to Thoubal district hospital, doctors declared that the woman was brought dead.

On the other hand, a press release issued by the PRO of Hqs IG AR (S) clarified that there was a routine change of security guards and pickets at the AR post located at Thoubal at about 11.30 pm yesterday.

During the procedure of handing/taking over and checking of weapons, a burst was accidentally discharged.

Informing that a complaint has been registered by the villagers of Thoubal Bamon Leirak that Waikhom (O) Mani was killed due to firing from AR post located at Thoubal; the PRO said that the possibility of the accidental discharge by the weapon and causing the death is being investigated.

Meanwhile, full cooperation and assistance is being extended by the AR post to the family of the deceased, police and local people to investigate into the matter, the PRO added.

“Is anybody there? I’m hit by a bullet”, Mani Devi shouted but when family members rushed to her room, she was found unconscious.

A joint team of Thoubal District Police and troops of 15 Assam Rifles visited the site of the incident this morning. The team was led by Additional SP (Operations) Jogeshchandra Haobijam, Additional SP (Law and Order) W Ningshen and Lt Col Om Prakash of 15 AR.

Altogether eight projectiles suspected to have been fired from bi-pod or Insas rifle were recovered from the surrounding area of Mani Devi’s home.

Most of these projectiles were found stuck either in the courtyard, or the verandah or the house wall.

The volley of bullets fired in celebration also caused substantial damages to at least 10 houses.

The place from where the bullets were fired and the place where they landed were just 800 meters apart in aerial distance.

Meanwhile, a public meeting held today at Nongangkhong Bamon Leirak has decided to form a joint action committee against yesterday’s incident.

JAC convener Sagolsem Sunita said, “It was not only the AR troops who were watching the cricket match, we were also watching the match”.

“But opening indiscriminate fire in the name of celebration is unacceptable”, she asserted.

The meeting decided to demand institution of Judicial Enquiry into yesterday’s incident and removal of 15 AR from Thoubal.

The third resolution was dismissal of the AR personnel involved in opening the indiscriminate fire.

Decrying the incident, a protest demonstration was also staged at Thoubal Mela Ground.

The protesters used placards which read as, “Don’t open fire in civilian areas without valid reasons”, “Don’t make the public gun targets”, “Replace AR with State force”, “Repeal AFSPA” etc.

Whereas a case has been registered in Thoubal police station over the incident, the corpse of the deceased is lying at the mortuary of JNIMS.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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