Imphal, Feb 12: Indefinite curfew was imposed in the twin capital districts – Imphal West and Imphal East – of Manipur with effect from Monday midnight besides simultaneous suspension of all forms of telecom services except voice calls, following the charged situation due to protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
People in Imphal defied curfew and staged protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which was stalled from tabling in the Rajya Sabha after the sitting was adjourned till February 13 owing to uproar.
Even as the protest got intensified, the administration clamped the curfew in the state capital as a pre-emptive move to maintain the situation. The administration has also suspended or banned all forms of telecom services except voice calls. As such, social media cannot be used.
In the police action, some protesters sustained injuries. Two of them, including a woman, were hospitalised.
Indefinite curfew orders
The indefinite curfew imposed by separate orders issued by the district magistrates of the two districts, prohibiting people from going out of their respective houses under Section 144 of the CrPC, were issued in the wake of intensified protests overnight in Imphal and its outskirts amidst apprehension of tabling for passing the contentious CAB in the Upper House of the Parliament.
The Imphal West district magistrate further issued order prohibiting all local cable TV networks from transmission or re-transmission of agitations/protest of any forms, inflammatory speech and public discourses that may incite to violence.
The prohibition under section 19 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 was imposed as such programmes may lead to breach of public peace and tranquility in the interest of the general public, the order stated.
Regarding the imposition of curfew in the twin capital districts, police cautioned people against using loud speakers and to stay indoors, particularly in the Greater Imphal area which covers both the districts.
Protesters defy curfew
However, defying the curfew, people across the two districts came out on the streets and staged the protest against the Bill with various anti-Bill and anti-BJP government slogans.
At Kwakeithel along Tidim Road and Wangjing market, protesters burnt the banners and effigies of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Union Home minister Rajnath Singh and state the Chief Minister N Biren Singh amidst heavy presence of police and security personnel.
Some male protesters also stormed the state BJP temporary office at Canchipur in Imphal and pulled down their pants, registering their protest against the Bill in the strongest term.
They alleged that CAB was no different from killing the indigenous people of the state and the region.
After police dispersed them, the protestors took to the street along NH-102 (Imphal-Moreh) and continued their protest by blocking the highway.
Police kept firing tear gas shells and mock bombs towards the protestors continued in Imphal till late Tuesday evening.
Similar protests against the Bill were also reported in other parts of the state, particularly in Thoubal, Kakching and Bishnupur districts.
Two injured in police firing
In their bid to disperse the protesters, police fired tear shells and mock bombs which failed to deter the protesters.
In police action towards the protesters at the same temporary office of the state BJP, a woman later identified as Keisham Jibanmala Devi, sustained injuries on her left leg after she was hit by a tear gas shell. She has been rushed to the RIMS hospital.
A youth, identified as Tekcham Naobi, 25, of Wangjing Tekcham village was injured in the police action to disperse a large number of protestors storming the residence of MLA P Brojen at Tekcham Tuesday evening, around 5.30 pm.
The injured protester who was rushed to Thoubal district hospital has been referred to RIMS hospital in Imphal after his conditioned became serious, reports said.
MANPAC observes ‘Doomsday’ for people of Manipur
Manipur Peoples Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (MANCAB) and People Alliance of Manipur (PAM), the conglomerates of various civil society organizations, are spearheading the peoples’ movement against the Bill.
The MANPAC observed Tuesday as “Doomsday” of indigenous people of Manipur and Northeast while calling the people to stage the protests on the roads with black flags.
PAM sponsored the 36-hour total shutdown against the passing of the contentious Bill, which ended on Tuesday evening at 5 pm.
PAM claimed of receiving overwhelm response to the total shutdown call given by the conglomerate while stating that people defied the curfew and staged various forms of protests.
“This showed that mass movement of the people cannot be suppressed by any force”, it said.
While informing that the Bill cannot be tabled on Tuesday in the Rajya Sabha due to ruckus in the House, PAM has also asked the people to remain alert as there is still possibility of tabling the Bill in the House on Wednesday.