Security forces in Manipur gunned down six suspected militants in Imphal West district, in which the state capital Imphal is located, on Tuesday night.
The police said the deaths took place when troops of the 12 Maratha Light Infantry and state police commandos exchanged fire with two young men, who came in an Enticer motorcycle, in Awang Khunou village, 10 km west of Imphal.
This was followed by another encounter at the same place with a group that came in a Tata Sumo.
Both encounters took place around 10.45 last night.
Imphal West District Superintendent of Police L Kailun gave a statement saying that the six people came close to a police post and when asked to stop, they fired, and were killed when the police retaliated.
The police suspect that they were militants, but are yet to identify the outfit involved in the incident. The public relations officer of Assam Rifles could not be contacted for comment.
According to Patsoi Police Station Officer in charge H Ibocha, one of the men succumbed to his injuries on the way to the hospital while the bodies of the five others were found at the spot, along with the Sumo and the motorcycle.
Ibocha said that security forces claimed to have recovered two 9mm pistols from the motorcyclists and one M16 rifle and one more 9mm pistol along with some ammunition from the occupants of the Sumo.
But no incriminating documents are reported to have been recovered.
So far four of those killed have been identified: Ksh Gopen, 29; Ng Danny, 30; Md Rahaman, 28; and Md Tomba, 35.
The first two were residents of Imphal and the others of Mayang Imphal (25 km south of Imphal). Family sources said Gopen was in the mobile card recharge business. A rickshaw-pullers' association said that Md Rahaman and Md Tomba were rickshaw-pullers.