Militant outfit Maoist Communist Party Manipur has said it will give "befitting punishment" to three youths who allegedly molested a 16-year-old school girl when she was returning to her village to celebrate Christmas in Senapati hill district of Manipur on December 24.
An MCPM statement, dated December 27 and made available to the press on Sunday, said the crime committed by the three youths was "unpardonable" as their act was not only outrageous but was also intended to drive a wedge between the indigenous people of the hill and valley in Manipur.
Official sources said three youths -- Angom Chandra, Khaidem Kunjo and Tensubam Amitkumar -- all aged 21, were arrested for allegedly molesting a girl at Napet Palli area in Imphal east district while the victim, along with friends, was returning to their village, Risophung, near Napet Palli, in Senapati district on December 24.
Police said the three, who offered to escort the girl posing as members of a militant outfit, were now in Lamlai police station for further investigation.
Several social organisations, including All Manipur Students Union (AMSU), United Committee Manipur (UCM) and International Peace and Solidarity Advancement (IPSA), strongly condemned the incident and demanded exemplary punishment to the three.
The organisations, in separate statements, said the state was facing a series of agitations, including general strike by several social organisations against the alleged molestation of a Manipuri film actress by a Naga militant of NSCN-IM, identified as Livingstone Anal, in public view during a musical concert at Chandel district on December 18 and the December 24 incident had added fuel to the fire.
Police viewed the threat by MSCP 'very seriously' as it may mean shooting the accused to death by the militants. Steps were being taken to speed up the investigation in the case to prosecute the three as per provisions of the law, police said.