Several tribal bodies strongly condemn killing of former ZB (AMN) president Athuan Abonmai, demand justice

Abonmai was shot dead allegedly by suspected NSCN (I-M) members at Pallong Village under Tamei Police station, Tamei sub-division in Tamenglong district on Wednesday, hours after he was abducted from Tamenglong district headquarters.

Athuan Abonmai (PHOTO: Facebook)

Several organisations in Manipur have strongly condemned the killing of Athuan Abonmai, former Zeliangrong Baudi (Assam-Manipur-Nagaland) president, after he was abducted by some unidentified persons on Wednesday. They have demanded the state government to book the culprits at the earliest.

“This was not just a murder of a leader but an attack on our community and human race as a whole,” the Liangmai Naga Katimai Ruangdi (LNKR) stated in a release on Thursday. This shows the blatant misuse of power and the disregard of life by those wielding guns, LNKR stated, adding, guns and violence and murder is never the way to silence a voice.

Freedom of speech and expression is a natural birthright of human beings… in this civilised society, any individual or organisation is expected to respect the fundamental right of its citizens, it stated.

ALSO READ: Former Zeliangrong Baudi (AMN) president found dead in Tamenglong

“Athuan Abonmai was a tall leader among the Liangmai community. He was a leader who always strived to unite, create a prosperous community among all. His murder has set us backwards again to those years where we longed for such an outspoken leader,” it stated.

Paying condolences to the bereaved family members, the LNKR demanded the state government to book the culprits at the earliest and bring justice to the departed soul, it stated.

Other Liangmai Naga civil organisations issued a joint release and appealed to the law enforcing agencies to take immediate action so as to prevent recurrence of such ‘disgraceful acts’ in the future.

The Liangmai Naga Council, Eastern Zone, Eastern Liangmai Chief Chairman Association and the Ahangruak Chief Chairman Association urged the people to respect human lives and called for delivering justice to the killing of Athuan Abonmai.

ALSO READ: Killing of Zeliangrong Baudi (AMN) Leader: State deploys heavy security in Tamenglong

The release stated that it is unfortunate to learn that the mortal remains of ‘Munhu. Khangthonang (Athuan) Abonmai’ who had been abducted by unidentified gunmen on Thursday in Tamenglong district headquarters was found near Pallong village. Such senseless act of cold blooded murder is totally unacceptable and is condemnable in a democratic society, it stated.

The release stated that one should not take the life of others based on ideological differences and there is no place for violence in democracy, it added.

The Zeliangrong Students' Union Manipur (ZSUM) said in a release: “Today, we lost our great and dynamic leader who stood for truth and spoke for the people and Zeliangrong in particular”.

His tireless contribution and efforts for the people of Zeliangrong will remain forever in the history of Zeliangrong, it stated. The ZSUM salutes the indomitable moral spirit for laying down his life for the cause of the people. Such vicious acts of the opponent will never succeed, it added.  

The ZSUM urges the government of Manipur and Centre to investigate and bring out the culprits and give a benefiting punishment at the earliest so that no such act would happen in the future and appeal to all the Zeliangrong people and well wishers to stand firmly until justice is done, it stated.  

“The ZSUM extend our deepest sympathy to the bereaved family and condoles during this period of mourning .We pray for his soul to give eternal peace on the abode of Almighty God,” it added.

ALSO READ: Joint Tribes Council condemns killing of Athuan Abonmai

The Zeliangrong Students Union Delhi and the Zeliangrong Welfare Association Delhi issued a joint statement condemning the “murder” of Abonmai and stated: “This day, the 22nd of September, 2021 will be remembered as a black-letter day by the Zeliangrong and will be written on the purple page of the Zeliangrong history. This horrific villainous act suspected to be committed by NSCN (IM) who works for the greater cause of the Nagas impugned the principles and motive of the organization. Such anarchic action is jarring and every right citizen should condemn such barbaric act of assassination”.

Expressing heartfelt condolence to the departed soul, they stated: “We appeal to the State Government law enforcement agency to take swift action and punish the perpetrators as per the law of the land. We also urge the National Investigation Agency to look into the matter and punish the perpetrators at the earliest. There’s no space for violence in any civilized society and no cause can justify such heinous crime. ZSUD and ZWAD denounce such senseless and merciless killing and voiced solidarity with the bereaved family members for justice to be brought at the earliest and hold the perpetrators accountable”.

Meanwhile, the United Committee Manipur (UCM) demanded the state government to bring out the facts behind the death of Athuan Abonmai.

It is unfortunate that such an incident could happen in the midst of a public gathering amid tight security, stated UCM in a release on Thursday. UCM stated that the members of the committee, while condemning such acts, observed a two-minute silence and extended condolence on Thursday.

Athuan Abonmai was a leader who played a vital role to maintain the unity of the state and the brotherhood of different communities living in Manipur, UCM stated.  His demise will be an irreparable loss for all communities in the state, it added.

The Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) also condemned the alleged killing of Athuan Abonmai and in the strongest terms.

It stated that KIM and its frontal organisations were shocked to learn of the death of Athuan Abonmai. KIM stated that he was a harbinger of peace and harmony among the people of Manipur and his death is an irreparable loss not only to his family members and the Zeliangrong community but also to the people of Manipur.

While strongly condemning the killing, KIM urged the authorities concerned to book the culprits involved at the earliest. It also offered sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family and prayed that the consolation of the Almighty God be upon them.

ALSO READ: Manipur Congress condemns killing of Athuan Abonmai, demands action against police official

KIM also expressed grief on the untimely passing of Letkholun Khongsai, executive member of Kuki Inpi Kangpokpi due to a stroke, stating that his sudden demise is a great loss not only for the family but the Kuki people as a whole. It offered heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family and prayed for Almighty God's consolation upon them.

The Kuki National Organisation (KNO) also strongly condemned the cowardly act of assassination that ended the life of Athuan Abonmai and said, “It is a great shame that NSCN (I-M), which seeks justice in the name of Christ, should act in such a contradictory and cowardly manner against a civilian”.

A release by KNO has cautioned the Central government to closely re-examine the political claims of the NSCN (I-M) before finalising any deal with them, taking note of their modus operandi of threats and killings against any leader of communities they forcibly want to subdue under Naga political identity.

On March 23, 2019, the leaders of KNO and Zeliangrong Baudi, including Athuan Abonmai had met and discussed at length the various political challenges the two communities are facing as kindred communities with undeniable proximity in lineage and socio-political prospects, it added.

In the hour of grief for the entire Zeliangrong community, KNO reaffirms the commitments made with the Zeliangrong Baudi to stand together and fight for the rights of the people, and to unite against forces that aim to impose their ideology of greed and hatred, the release stated.

First Published:Sept. 23, 2021, 11 p.m.

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