Shoot-at-sight orders in Imphal

Counter Attack: A protester uses a slingshot to throw stones at police during curfew in Imphal on Wednesday. Reuters

Shoot-at-sight orders have been issued in this curfew-bound capital of Manipur, with the state rocked by a wave of violent protests over an alleged fake encounter in which a surrendered militant was killed, officials said on Wednesday.

An indefinite curfew was clamped down on Imphal on Tuesday after protests against the alleged fake encounter death of a 27-year-old former rebel turned violent.

“Curfew was imposed following several incidents of protesters trying to block roads, burn effigies of the chief minister, besides burning tyres on the streets,” a senior police official said.

Police burst teargas shells and baton-charged the protesters, besides firing in the air to disperse angry mobs. “The situation is under control, although tension still prevails.

Shoot-at-sight orders have been issued against anyone found violating the curfew orders,” the police official said.

“We shall review the situation and see if we can relax curfew for a few hours to enable people to buy essentials,” he added.

The immediate provocation for the string of protests was the publication of a set of photographs that punctured the security forces’ claim that they had killed a youth following a gunfight. The photographs clearly revealed that the youth, Chongkham Sanjit (27), was taken inside a pharmacy by security forces in capital Imphal unchallenged and then his body was brought out.

Judicial inquiry ordered
Following the protests, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh on Wednesday ordered a judicial probe into the incident and suspended six policemen in connection with it.

Addressing a press conference, Singh said further action would depend on the report of the judicial inquiry.He said the state government would request the Guwahati High Court to spare a sitting judge to conduct the inquiry but did not say when the judicial commission would submit its report.

The chief minister said Sanjit was a former activist of the militant group People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

He said his earlier remarks about Sanjit being an active PLA member was based on reports given to him by the Director General of Police and other senior police officials.

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