Investigation sought into Pumao shooting

NAHARLAGUN, Nov 24: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Itanagar bench of the Gauhati High Court here, seeking a CBI investigation into the death of Lamdan Lukham, who was killed in a shooting by the 19th Sikh Regiment of the Indian Army at Pumao village in Longding district on 16 May this year, “without assigning any lawful reason.”

As per the PIL, the petitioner, Karpu Chisi has requested the court to issue direction to the respondents (the union of India and the state government) to engage an independent investigating agency, the CBI, to investigate the shooting incident, so that attempts can be made to book the culprits who were involved in “the unjustified killing of late Lukham.”

The petitioner has also sought adequate compensation for the next of kin of late Lukham and the other victims of the shooting.

As per the PIL, the court has been requested to direct the respondents to pay Rs 50 lakhs as compensation to the next of kin of late Lukham.

The petitioner also sought Rs 10 lakhs for severely injured Naiwang Wangsu, and Rs 5 lakhs each for Nokchai Wangsu, Jimpho Wangpan, Amok Wangsu, Panphua Wangpan and Champoh Nganam, who were injured in the incident.

The court here has issued a notice to the union and state governments to respond to the PIL within three weeks.

Counsel for the petitioner and human rights advocate Madan Mili said, “I am sure that justice will be delivered to the deceased and victim families. Though the law will take its own time, justice will be delivered. A precedent must be set, so that the law is not misused and such incidents are not repeated in Arunachal.”

On 16 May, a peaceful meeting was held between the villagers and the Indian Army regarding an incident involving a few army personnel who had beaten up one Jimphu Wangnow on the night of 15 May without citing any valid reasons, as per the villagers.

A commotion broke out when the army personnel, who had no sufficient reason to explain their action, tried to leave the meeting midway, which angered the villagers.

They pelted stones at the army personnel, and in retaliation, the personnel fired back at the crowded public, killing one civilian and injuring several others.

At the time, the Longding deputy commissioner had stated that the “district administration will provide Rs 50,000 to the deceased and Rs 25,000 each to the injured as interim relief,” and had assured that the administration would bear all expenses of the treatment.