According to police, the encounter took place near Laimaton after reports that some armed persons were extorting illegal taxes from the vehicles that ply along the old Cachar road

According to police, the encounter took place near Laimaton after reports that some armed persons were extorting illegal taxes from the vehicles that ply along the old Cachar road

After a fierce gun battle on Saturday night, Manipur police arrested two cadres of the NSCN(IM) along with sophisticated weapons. According to the two cadres — Jaolen Chiru, 26, and Janthayai Longmei, 41 — three others had escaped.

The encounter took place near Laimaton in the old Cachar road now used as a by-pass highway since National Highways 2 and 37 are impassable as the bridge over the Irang river collapsed a few days ago and the Imphal Dimapur highway is obstructed by landslips.

Police said that following reports that some armed persons were extorting illegal taxes from the vehicles that ply along the old Cachar road, a police commando team of Bishnupur district led by inspector Y. Shaktisen rushed there. While the commandos were interrogating passers-by some persons started firing at them.

While retaliating, the commandos also sought additional forces. Priyadarshini Laishram sent additional police commandos and personnel of 29 Assam Rifles. There were protracted exchanges of fire. It is believed that the attackers retreated shortly.

Once the firing stopped, the combined team combed the areas and found the two injured cadres. An AK-47 rifle, a magazine, a China-made hand grenade, one 9 mm pistol and assorted live ammunition were recovered from the area. Some incriminating documents linking the cadres to the NSCN (IM) were also found. The team also recovered ₹15,250 in cash. During preliminary interrogation, the two admitted that they were members of the NSCN (IM) and that they had been extorting illegal taxes from vehicles. Police have also seized one van used by them. The Bishnupur police station has registered a case.

Sources said that the bullet injuries sustained by the arrested cadres were not life- threatening.