Five cadres of the proscribed People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have been arrested along with seizure of explosive devices in a crackdown by Imphal West district police following the Thangal bazar blast which occurred on November 5.
District police team also claims to have stopped another series blast from happening in the city. The blast was planned to occur on Saturday at Ngari Galli, Thangal Bazar, a location that lies beyond the surveillance of CCTV cameras.
“The Thangal bazar blast was planted and triggered by one Paonam Manikanta Singh, 30, son of P Amu Singh of Lakhinagar, Assam, presently staying at Tentha Tuwaband Leikai, Thoubal, it said. He has managed to escape by fleeing to Myanmar after the blast,” said Imphal West superintendent of police, K Meghachandra.
He was speaking to the media on Sunday at his conference hall located at Babupara, Imphal. The crackdown was made possible by the swift action of the district police, he said.
The arrests of the culprits who were directly involved in the blast began from Saturday night, he further said.
District police team conducted a cordon and search operation around Khwairamband market on Saturday night and some youths were found sleeping in the Naga river area and Ima Keithel, he added.
During the operation, one suspect who identified himself as one Asheibam Budha Singh, 38, son of A Pishak Sing of Andro Khuman Nungyungbi village was detained. On verification, he disclosed that he is an active member of Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF)/ PLA and also working as a member of Kangleipak Economic Development Organisation (KEDO), he added.
During police interrogation, Budha disclosed that he along with his associates namely, Chingkham Basanta alias Khambaton Singh, 33, son of Ch Ningthembi Singh of Andro Khuman Nungungbi and Paonam Manikanta triggered the Improvise Explosive Device (IED) at Thangal bazar.
Mentioned may be made that during the blast occurred at Thangal bazar, 5 police personnel including one civilian were injured.
Budha further disclosed that another two IED is with Basanta. The bombs were planned to be exploded at Ngari Galli area and another in the near future as series of blasts. He was arrested at 11.45 pm on Saturday. Police seized two mobile phones along two SIM cards from Budha.
From the Budha’s statement, the same police team rushed at the house of Basanta’s wife namely, Yumkhaibam (N) Sumati Devi, 26, daughter of Y Chandrashyam Singh of Andro Awang Leikai and conducted a search operation.
Further Meghachandra said Basanta was detained and on police verification, he disclosed that he is a trained cadre of RPF/PLA. He also disclosed that he joined the group in 2010 and received basic military training in Taka, Myanmar.
The SP continued Basanta received the said IEDs from Khurai area on November 8 from one unknown person sent by commander of RPD/PLA group. After receiving the explosive devices, he called Budha at Uran Ngariyan to pick him up with the IEDs on the same day.
Basanta told the police that he went to the spot by a passenger auto rickshaw service. After he met Budha who came on one LML NV silver colour scooter, they went to the house of Budha’s younger brother Aheibam Dhaneshwar Singh alias Thane and buried the explosive device at the backyard of Dhaneshwar with the knowledge of Dhaneshwar, he added.
Meghachandra further said Basanta brought back the IEDs to the house of his wife and kept it concealed in their backyard on Saturday. The police arrested Basanta along with the explosive devices on Sunday 2 am. Police disclosed that from the possession of Basanta, two IEDs, two batteries with timers and eight detonators, two mobile phones and sim cards were recovered and seized, he added.
The police team also arrested Dhaneshwar from his residence at about 2.40 am of the same day and one mobile phone with two sim cards, one LML NV silver colour scooter bearing registration number MN06S-2269 which was used in transportation were seized.
Dhaneshwar further disclosed police that Manikanta who is the main accused in Thangal bazar blast and one of his close associate namely, Irom Thaja are now in a PLA camp in Myanmar under the commander of 259 battalion of the said proscribed group, he added.
In connection with the case, two persons were also arrested, Nongthombam Ishorchandra Meitei who is the brother in law of Manikanta, he said, adding they work together in a brickfield of Patsoi, Imphal West. Another Nongthombam (N) Bahen, wife of Manikanta helped his husband to escape after the crime, he informed.
The SP went on to say that the blast was carried out by the proscribed PLA organisation. It was operated from its camp located at Myanmar. The act of the proscribed group is similar to the act of a terrorist’s organisation, he said.
Transportation of explosives and arms and ammunition from Myanmar in the cases was mainly done through passenger service and goods vehicles, he pointed out.
He appealed to the civil bodies not to blame the police department behind the blast as the department has been discharging their duty to maintain peace and harmony in the State.