EKSWCO, AEKDSU demand fair investigation, allege political influence behind shielding culprits

Toko Yame murder case

Staff Reporter

ITANAGAR, 14 Dec: Expressing dismay over the Central Bureau of Investigation’s (CBI) refusal to take up the case of late Toko Yame’s mysterious death in Tawang on 16 September, 2017, the East Kameng Social Welfare and Cultural Organization (EKSWCO) and the All East Kameng District Students’ Union (AEKDSU) on Monday alleged that political influence was behind shielding the accused involved in the case.

Yame was a Class 12 (science) student who went missing after a scuffle broke out between the students of the higher secondary school and the Jawaharlal Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) in Tawang on 16 September, 2017. His semi-decomposed body was later found at the Biga bridge waterfall, near the JNV campus in Tawang, at around 3 pm of 23 September, 2017.

In a joint press conference held here on Monday, the EKSWCO and the AEKDSU alleged that the delay in investigation was due to political influence to shield the accused involved in what they termed “gruesome murder and hate crime against a student.”

“We never saw such gruesome murder and hate crime against a student. We seek cooperation and support from other communities of the state in pursuit of justice for late Toko Yame,” said EKSWCO general secretary Nikam Tallang.

Tallang cautioned the government that if the investigating agency fails to book the perpetrators and bring the case to a logical conclusion, the issue has the potential to create mistrust among tribes. He also said that the bereaved family and the EKSWCO suspect that the case has not been fairly investigated.

The EKSWCO and the AEKDSU served a month’s ultimatum to the state government, demanding rearrest of all the accused, irrespective of ages; speedy and fair trail of the case; immediate suspension of the police personnel who were on duty; ensuring a CBI investigation into the case by offering all logistic support; and furnishing the postmortem report to the victim family.

They threatened to launch a “widespread democratic movement against the state government and the Tawang authority” if the government fails to deliver justice to the victim family.

The organizations said that the CBI refused to take up the case on 8 December, 2018, stating that the case did not have any interstate ramification, and that the CBI was facing a resource crunch.

Expressing shock and displeasure over the CBI’s refusal to take up the case, AEKDSU president Chakang Yangda said, “If the CBI is refusing to investigate, now who would investigate it?”

“The police did not investigate fairly, only because the victim family does not belong to Tawang. Whoever is involved in the heinous crime should be booked or brought to justice,” said Yangda, and demanded constituting “an inquiry committee on the police personnel who were present during the scuffle.”

“The police could have controlled the scuffle. However, they let it happen. That is why we call it preplanned murder and hate crime,” Yangda said.

The EKSWCO and the AEDKSU also appealed to the elected representatives of East Kameng district to intervene and pressurize the government agencies to give justice to late Toko Yame’s family.

Claiming that his son was brutally murdered because of communal reasons, the deceased’s father, Koya Yame stated that the correspondence from the CBI and the state’s investigating agency were “an eyewash with an attempt to weaken the case.”

Koya asked Chief Minister Pema Khandu and other representatives from Tawang not to shield the accused. He also alleged that a few police personnel were also involved in his son’s death.

“My son was abducted on 16 September after the scuffle. There were peace resolutions to restore communal harmony. The day after the peace resolution, my son’s body was thrown into Biga waterfall. So I call it a preplanned murder and a hate crime,” said the bereaved father.

Former AEKDSU general secretary Nera Gumro, who was the ‘case committee chairman’, formally handed over the file to the EKSWCO and the AEKDSU.

# A scuffle breaks out between the students of the GHSS and the JNV in Tawang on 16 September, 2017.

# Toko Yame goes missing on 16 September evening.

# A peace resolution is adopted on 17 September between the Monpas and non-Tawang residents to not communalize the incident.

# On 23 September, 2017, Toko Yame’s body is found at the Biga bridge waterfall.

# On 26 June, 2018, a massive rally is held by the AEKDSU, demanding that the case be handed over to the CBI.

# On 29 June, 2018, the state government decides to hand over the case to the CBI.

# On 8 December, 2019, the CBI refuses to take up the case, stating that the case does not have interstate ramifications.