Manipur molestation: NSCN says probe on
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Despite searches and raids by the Assam Rifles and the Manipur Police at Chandel town and surrounding villages, the NSCN (IM) cadre accused of molesting a Manipuri actress is yet to be traced.
The actress was attending a concert organised by the Mahamani Women's Society at Chandel Bazaar high school ground to raise funds for the Mahamani Youth Club. Livingstone allegedly first tried molesting the actress backstage and when she resisted, started assaulting her.
Two other artistes, Prakash Khuraijam and Guna, tried to intervene but Livingstone allegedly opened fire on them. Livingstone had arrived at the spot with two other cadre members who were reportedly heavily armed.
In a statement, the NSCN(I-M) said it has initiated an internal inquiry into the molestation case. Sources said NSCN-IM's top leaders Isaak Chisi Swu and Th Muivah have issued a directive to conduct an inquiry so that befitting action can be initiated against "Lt Col" Livingstone, if found guilty. The group has also said the incident at Chandel had been "blown out of proportion" and sections of Manipur society with vested interests have lent it a "communal colouring".
"It is alleged that the actual incident started when the actress made a provocative gesture against the Nagas which infuriated the whole Nagas and Lieutenant Col. Livingstone allegedly slapped the actress in a fit of anger. Nevertheless, NSCN is not taking the matter lightly and if Lt Col Livingstone is found guilty of crime against the human dignity and morality of the actress the law of NSCN/GPRN will take its own course and befitting punishment given as per the nature of the crime committed," the NSCN-IM statement said.
"It is, however, bewildering to observe that highly motivated show of protest creating communal tension is given free hand. Going further it is shameless for the communal Manipur government to have taken it up in the Manipur Assembly simply to magnify the matter...," it said.