Manipur Remains Tense After 48 Hour Band
NEW DELHI: A 48-hour National Highway bandh declared by the United Naga Council started from midnight of 3rd-4th of September and ended on the midnight of Saturday in Manipur.
This bandh call comes in protest against the passing of the three Bills by the Manipur Government. Terming these bills as ‘anti-tribal’, the Council said that such a move was nothing but a direct challenge to the tribal people of Manipur.
The UNC also stated that this bandh is only the beginning of a series of agitation that will follow soon. They have sought the support of all citizens, tribal leaders and civil bodies.
The public had been warned by the UNC not to defy the bandh call.
The UNC aims to invest all possible means to confront the alleged anti-tribal Government through democratic agitation.
Meanwhile violence and arson continued in Manipur's trouble-torn Churachandpur town where two government office buildings were burnt down by agitators while the four-day-old indefinite curfew was relaxed for some hours on Thursday.
Police said the two offices are located near each other and the agitators protesting against the passage of three bills in the assembly first set fire to the divisional employment exchange at Head Quarter Veng this afternoon When they attempted to torch the sub-divisional officer's office, personnel of India Reserve Battalion(IRB) under commanding officer N Manimohan Singh rushed to the area and tried to turn them away, police said.
Talking to The Citizen, Editor of The Lamka Post, Th, Thangzalian said, “ This is all is expected. The public isagitated because of the non withdrawal of the land reforms bill. Andthis is not going to settle down so easily. The government will haveto work out towards some solution”.
A scuffle ensued between the two sides during which the IRB were totally outnumbered by the agitators.
The IRB personnel then fired in the air to disperse the protestors but the SDO office was forcibly torched by them from the opposite side.
Both buildings were reduced to ashes, the police said adding there was no report of any injury in the incident so far.
Earlier in the day, one more person succumbed to his injuries sustained in the police firing taking the toll to eight.
A Manipur government official said the toll was given out as eight yesterday and included a motorcyclist, who had died in a road accident.
An official at the deputy commissioner's office said curfew has been relaxed in violence-hit Churachandpur town from 5 AM to 1 PM to enable the public to buy essentials on Thursday. The preventive order was reimposed at 1 pm.
A public meeting was held during the day in the town by Joint Action Committee amidst tight security.
Central paramilitary forces like Assam Rifles, CRPF, BSF had been deployed to control the situation.
Police said the JAC, formed yesterday by communities living in Churachandpur, stuck to its decision not to claim the bodies of those killed in the agitation till their demand for withdrawal of the three bills was met by the government.
“ The bodies will be taken by the families if the government comes out with some solutions. There is no offer made from the government and that is further adding fuel to the fire. The government should come up with something to defuse the tension” Th, Thangzalian added.