Newmai News Network
IMPHAL, Dec 17: Life was completely thrown out of gear during the 24-hour Manipur wide bandh on Saturday called by women vendors of four Ima markets of Khwairamband Keithel against the fatal ambush by suspected militants killing three cops and injuring several others two days ago.
The bandh was also in protest against the protracted indefinite economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC), according to vendors’ bodies of the historic Ima Keithels (mothers’ markets) located in the heart of Imphal.
Heavily unidentified armed persons ambushed two different police teams on Road Petrol Party (ROP) duty at two spots on Imphal-Moreh highway on December 15, killing three personnel and injuring about a dozen. On the same day, another three cops were injured when militants attacked them at Noney near Imphal-Jiribam highway.
Saturday’s protestors accused the NSCN-IM of the coordinated attacks on state police. The Manipur government quickly reacting against the violence has written to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) pointing finger at the Naga outfit over the killing and injuring of the state police personnel.
Before announcement for the general strike, Khwairamband Keithel women vendors’ organisations took out a protest rally in the streets of Imphal yesterday to condemn NSCN (IM) and UNC. Spearheaded by the UNC, the Nagas are resisting declaration of new districts by curving out Naga areas by the Okram Ibobi Singh led Congress government.
During the bandh from 7 pm of December 16 to 7 pm of December 17, normal life was affected in most parts of the state and stray incidents were also reported. All districts in the valley were shut off totally. Vehicles were off the road. All important roads including highways witnessed almost total bandh. Local clubs and other organisations also enforced the strike in every street.
Strike supporters piled up burning tyres, tree branches and other objects in the middle of roads everywhere to block traffic. In Jiribam district some four passenger vehicles were damaged by strike supporters for defying the bandh.
Former minister and legislator Phungzathang Tongsing managed to escape a fury of bandh supporters along the Tiddim Road here after a skirmish. According to reports, two of his guards, personnel of Manipur Rifles, opened blank fire after a group of bandh supporters tried to block the way of the lawmaker who was in his vehicle with the personnel escorting him.
The firing caused a raging incident wherein the strike supporters chased the vehicle to attack the security personnel. Tonsing managed to escape the fury by dashing into his residential quarter at Kwakeithel. The group then tried to storm the MLA’s quarter. The two Manipur Rifles personnel were forced to bring out of the quarter who were accosted by the group for the incident and later forced to apologise in public.