Security scaled up after attack on Hmar leader is shot at
After an emergency meeting at Home Minister R Lalzirliana's residence on Thursday night, senior police officials led by two DIGs on Friday headed towards northern Mizoram bordering Manipur and Myanmar to firm up security in five constituencies (Tuivawl, Chalfilh, Lengteng, Serlui and Champhai North) there.
This scaling up of security is happening two days after a middle-aged local political leader was shot twice in the ankle by armed militants near Khawlian village, which falls within the Chalfilh constituency. The Chief Election officer had also been briefed of the situation.
B Zahunga, a member of the Sinlung Hills Development Council that was set up to oversee development in the region inhabited largely by the Hmar community, was reportedly shot by militants near his village as he walked home from his farm with his wife and daughter-in-law on Wednesday evening. He is being treated at the Aizawl Civil Hospital.
While DIG (northern range) Zorammuana and 1st Mizoram Armed Police (MAP) battalion commandant Lalbiakthanga Khiangte headed for Sakawrdai town in Tuivawl constituency, DIG (HQ) V Lalthakima headed towards Saiphai and Saipum villages in Serlui constituency, where sitting MLA K Rinthanga, two-term Rajya Sabha MP Lalhmingliana of the MDA and Mizoram's richest candidate R Lalawia of the ZNP are battling it out.
The Congress has in the past couple of days alleged that Zoram Nationalist Party, largely tipped to be the dark horse in this elections, is working with two sets of ethnic rebels in these areas.
The ruling party has alleged armed men in a white Bolero bearing a Manipur registration plate has been moving around half-a-dozen Paite (a tribe) villages in Champhai North constituency asking people to vote for the ZNP.
The ZNP has however denied having links with any ethnic rebel groups. At a press conference, ZNP Vice-President K Liantlinga said the party does not work either with armed rebels or ethnic groups and alleged the Congress has in the past worked with these very rebels, even staging a kidnapping of candidates in 2003 to win empathy from voters.