A month after Tirap massacre, no major breakthrough

[Tongam Rina]

ITANAGAR, Jun 20: It’s been a month since the massacre of 11 people, including MLA Tirong Aboh, in Bogapani area, some 20 kilometres from Tirap HQ Khonsa, and the investigation continues without any major breakthrough.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) team which is handling the investigation is in Khonsa and has met the members of the families of those who lost their lives, sources said.
The team has also questioned several people, including a woman and Aboh’s personal security officer (PSO), both of whom escaped the massacre.
The woman is a worker in the Aboh household and, along with the PSO, a key witness to the massacre. They have been questioned several times, said a source.
However, some people related to the families of those who lost their lives this daily spoke to said none of the people who were mentioned in the FIR has been arrested.
One said the people who were named in the FIR filed at the Khonsa police station were roaming free in the state capital, without being questioned by the investigators, and meeting people at the highest offices.
“One of the persons named in the FIR has a house in Nirjuli, and has met people at the highest office – something which has been published in the media – and yet she has not been arrested,” said another.
Insiders say there has been lack of coordination between the Assam Rifles (ARF) and the state police, reportedly because the AR refused to carry out search operations in key areas identified by the state police some three days after the massacre.
“The deliberate lack of coordination is expected because the NSCN (IM), with which the Centre has a framework agreement, is involved in the massacre. It is too much to expect from the security forces to act. They know, but they won’t do anything, because their hands are tied,” said an insider.
None of the complaints lodged with the police mentions NSCN (IM) leaders.
The main NSCN (IM) leaders in the area are its operation commander for Tirap, Changlang and Longding, self-styled brigadier Absulem Rockwang, and kilonser James Kiwang of the outfit’s civil wing, who is a Myanmarese national but is settled in Tirap.
“We do not know whether the NSCN (IM) agreed to the massacre, but those two run the show in Tirap, Longding and Changlang, and everyone knows which political party and leaders they are close to,” said a source.
“Kiwang was seen in Khonsa almost always, and he disappeared just around the time of the massacre,” said another.
“If the NIA and state police are really keen to solve the massacre case, these two need to questioned. The NSCN (IM) should hand them over for investigation if they don’t have a hand in the massacre,” said another.
Those who were killed along with 47-year-old Tirong Aboh on 21 May included his workers Wangngoi Hakhun (35), Jalin Hakhun (33), Wangngu Hakhun (30), Gamwang Hakhun (28), all from the same family, teacher Tangro Atoa (47), PSOs Poanhang Agi (38) and Khundong Siksa (50), driver Patwang Sumpa (20), Aboh’s son Along and nephew Matlam.
Along and Matlam were 20-year-old college students.
The injured, Wangdan Hakhun (26) and Wangsen Hakhun (32), are still undergoing treatment outside the state.
PSO Nokliam Tekwa and the worker in the Aboh household, Nyajut Hakhun, escaped the massacre unhurt.
Following the massacre, the Pema Khandu government announced Rs 20 lakhs as well as government jobs for the families that lost their members.
The official procedures for the release of the compensation amounts are underway, and it will be released soon. “The jobs announced will take some time to be appointed to, but it will be done,” said an official of the state government.
The election to replace Aboh has to be held in the next five months, according to the laid down rules.
During the session on 4 June, the members of the state legislative assembly had suggested that Aboh’s widow, Chakat, be elected unopposed from the Khonsa West constituency.
Agreeing to the proposal of the members, the chief minister had said a meeting of the political parties has to be convened to seek a consensus for unopposed election of Chakat Aboh.