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Hmarkhawlien, July 27, 2011: The Hmar community in Assam’s Cachar district has condemned the arrest of former Barak Valley Hill Tribes Development Council (BVHTDC) chief Ngursunthang who was taken into custody by the police on July 26 over the murder of BVHTDC chairman Babul Rongmei weeks ago.

Terming the move a “repeated attempts by the police to put the blame on the Hmar tribals” various Hmar organizations have demanded the “immediate and unconditional” release of Ngursunthang failing which the community said it will imposed an indefinite blockage of National Highway 53 which connects Manipur and Assam from July 28.

“We condemned the systematic victimization, harassment and repeated attempts to blame the Hmar tribals for the killing of Babul Rongmei, Chairman of the Barak Valley Hill Tribes Development Council (BVHTDC),” said a joint statement issued by the Hmar National Union (Assam), Hmar Students’ Association (Barak Valley, Assam), and Hmar Inpui (Hmar Supreme House), Barak Valley Region.

Babul Rongmei was shot dead by three unidentified assailants in his drawing room at his Silchar residence on July 10, 2011. One of the assailants was lynched by the crowd while two of his accomplices escaped.

The Hmar organisations also stated that the banned NSCN/GPRN (K) already owned responsibility for the killing of Babul Rongmei and also declared the name of the slain assailant and his rank in the proscribed outfit.

The NSCN/GPRN (K) (Zeliangrong Region) in its press release on July 12, 2011 took responsibility for giving capital punishment to Babul Rongmei, and stated that the operation was launched in the interest of the Zeliangrong Nagas by the Demo team of Silchar town under the command of lieutenant Stenhawk.

The arrested former chairman of BVHTDC Ngursunthang also denied his alleged involvement in the killing and termed the allegation as baseless, motivated and a conspiracy to malign him and tarnish his image before the public and demanded a high level inquiry, preferably by CBI, to investigate the case so that the truth be revealed to all.

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