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Hundreds join candlelight vigil against late Henveih Phom’s killing in Assam

candle light vigil

Demands formation of SIT, proper forensic probe to ascertain actual cause of death

KOHIMA, AUGUST 30: Hundreds of people from different walks of life, especially belonging to Phom tribe, held a candlelight vigil at Old MLA Hostel junction here demanding justice for the brutal killing of late Henveih Phom by Assam Police.
The candlelight vigil held in the heart of Nagaland’s capital town – Kohima was organized by Phom Students Union Kohima (PSUK) and supported by the tribes of Eastern Nagaland and also Ao tribe while people from other tribes also joined in solidarity.
PSUK president M Phom highlighting the chronology of the incident said that “on the fateful day of August 16, 2022, Henveih Phom (35 years), son of L Eshak Phom from Anaki-C Village, under Tuli Sub-Division of Mokokchung district, was arrested by Assam Police at Anaki Village Jurisdiction (Nagaland) and remanded to Sivasagar District Jail, Assam.
The victim was tortured and brutally beaten by the Assam Police on broad daylight and lodged at Sivasagar District Jail, Assam. At the time of his arrest, his health was physically fit.
However, within six days of his arrest by Assam Police, late Phom died in their custody on August 21 in a ‘very suspicious manner’.
The family was informed by Assam Police only after his death. When the family reached the spot, his dead body was found lying in a corridor at Joysagar Civil Hospital, Assam”, he narrated.
The participants at the candlelight vigil held placards and banners demanding justice at the earliest and also expressed that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Eastern Nagaland Public Union Kohima (ENPUK) president N Toshi Chang, vehemently condemning the barbaric act of the Assam Police, said the outrageous way in which they carried out the whole play, neglecting all protocols and acting on their own accord which ended up taking his life goes on to show the Assam Police’s callous disregard for human life.
“Such actions have no place in our society, in our constitution or in any democratic State”, he said.
Saying that Nagas are peace loving people and like any other community, they want to thrive in peace with our neighbours, he said no matter what crime a person commits, he/she must be brought under trial as per the constitution and law.
Hence, the eastern Nagaland people and all Nagas demand that both the State Governments of Assam and Nagaland work in coordination and conduct a thorough investigation to bring to justice the culprits and bring back the honor of the family of the bereaved.
He also reminded the family of late Henveih Phom that they are not alone in this fight for justice but that all Nagas around the world are praying for them and are in solidarity to ensure timely justice.
Eastern Naga Students Federation (ENSF) assistant general secretary Molo Phom reminded the Assam Police that with the act, they have completely violated the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution under Article 21 ‘Right to live’.
He also informed that ENSF has submitted a memorandum to the Chief Secretary, Government of Nagaland, to immediately constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) under a competent and honest officer so as to ensure timely justice to the bereaved families by booking the perpetrators under relevant Sections of the law.
ENSF also appealed to the State Government to listen and hear the cry for justice of the Phom people and the Eastern Nagaland people as a whole by digging out the truth.
Eastern Nagaland Women Organisation Kohima (ENWOK) president Limei Phom termed the incident as ‘senseless, very shocking and horrific’. She said the mothers are profoundly distressed at the unfortunate and dark event that has happened.
Strongly condemning the ‘barbaric act’ of Assam Police, she said they have no right to take a life but instead they are supposed to be the protectors of life.
“We call on the Government of Nagaland to seriously take up the issue, take swift measures to identify the culprits and sanction appropriate action according to law and give justice to the departed soul, because justice delayed is justice denied”, she said.
“Today as we light let this candle, let us not this flame of fight for justice dim out. Let us voice out and let our voice be heard in this pursuit of truth, justice, dignity and all-abiding respect for each other and every human life. The need for unity is greater now than ever before. How long can our people suffer? How long can we let ourselves be tormented and tortured like this? Let us stop being mute spectators”, she said.
Phom Union Kohima, president Dr Manyau Phom said the provisional post mortem report as per the local dailies dated August 27 claimed the cause of death to be due to cardiac failure because of chronic anaemia.
However, he pointed out that the injuries sustained on the body as per the photo and videos that was out in the media shows a completely different picture.
Saying that dead man tells a tale, dead body does not lie, he said PUK demands that proper forensic investigation be carried out to ascertain the actual cause of death.
Chaired by PSUK assistant general secretary Chingyang, the vigil commenced with a prayer by Kohima Phom Baptist Church Youth Pastor Tenomenen while benediction was pronounced by Hoichemla Kohima Unit.
(Page News Service)