Naga trooper guns down officer, West Bengal policeman

Thursday, December 2, 2010

KOLKATA - A trooper of Nagaland India Reserve Battalion (NIRB), deployed for anti-Maoist operations in West Bengal’s Purulia district, gunned down his officer and a State Armed Police constable, police said Thursday. He has been arrested.

“Pur Lemba of the NIRB shot his superior following a heated argument early Thursday. Hearing the sound of firing inside the camp, a jawan (trooper) of the state armed police, on duty at the camp in Balarampur, rushed inside and was also shot by the Naga jawan,” Purulia Police Superintendent Sunil Chowdhury said.

The trouble started Thursday around 2.15 a.m after the Naga constable fired two rounds in the air without any reason, he added.

Hearing the gunfire, sub-inspector Kwerie Hung Dominique came and asked Pur Lemba not to fire. “But a heated altercation broke out between them. The Naga jawan fired several rounds at the sub-inspector, who was in-charge of the company. He died on the spot.”

“After the death of the sub-inspector, the other troopers informed the personnel of the State Armed Police (SAP), deployed on sentry duty within the camp. SAP trooper Sanjoy Bar posted at the main gate tried to overpower Lemba, who had fired at least 50 rounds. But Bar was also fired at. He was rushed to the Tata Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries,” Chowdhury added.

A police team from Balarampur police station rushed to the spot Thursday morning and arrested Pur Lemba. He has been taken for medical and breathalyzer tests to find out if he was drunk.

Inspector General of Police (Western Range) Zulfikar Hassan said the trooper seemed to be suffering from depression. “I have received allegations that he was firing as he was not being able to sleep. We are interrogating him. We can form a final opinion only after the investigation.”

“There was no heated argument between the jawans. The witness told us that the move of the accused jawan was completely unprovoked and unprecedented,” he added.

Following the incident, local residents expressed resentment over the deployment of Naga troopers in the area.

A couple of months back, the Naga troopers fired indiscriminately at two civilians, who died at the spot. The case has been taken up by the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

Six companies of the NIRB were deployed in Purulia for anti-Maoist operation a few months back.

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