One of the two men arrested in connection with the killing of a Sub-Divisional Police Officer in Manipur turned out to be a BJP leader.
Hemkholal Mate was arrested by a joint team of state forces from Manipur’s Moreh town bordering Myanmar yesterday, along with another accused Philip Khaikholal Khongsai in the murder case of police officer Chingtham Anand Kumar.
Philip Khaikholal Khongsai, the prime accused in the case, is an ex-Indian Army soldier as well as president of Moreh Youth Club.
Mate was the treasurer of BJP’s Tengnoupal district unit. He is also the chief of K Moulsang village and finance secretary of the Mate Tribe Union.
Soon after the news came out, BJP removed Mate from party positions and cancelled his membership.
“After calling an emergency executive committee of the party today, he (Mate) has been expelled from the primary membership of our party,” BJP state vice president N Nimbus Singh said.
Both of the accused were taken to Moreh judicial magistrate initially, after which they were taken into police custody for nine days, the Manipur Police said in a post on X.
Chingtham, the SDPO of Moreh in Tengnoupal district, was killed by a sniper attack while he was on a supervising duty at Eastern Shine ground situated at the border town, on October 31 last year.
Moreh has witnessed several clashes between state forces and other armed groups in recent weeks. Being a border town, it faces the pressure of being a “hide out” as well.
After the arrest, many of the Moreh residents surrounded the Moreh police station and demanded the release of Mate and Khongsai.
Meanwhile in the Imphal valley, people gathered in large numbers urging the government to hand over the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and punish the arrested men adequately.
According to the officially available figures, around 200 have died and thousands have been displaced following the clashes between the hill-majority Kukis and the valley-majority Meiteis since May 2023.