Protests continue in Manipur, curfew reimposed

Protests continue in Manipur, curfew reimposed

Protests continue in Manipur, curfew reimposed

Protests against the Naga militant outfit NSCN-IM, presently observing a ceasefire, continued in Manipur Monday, even as five policemen were suspended over the firing incident a day earlier at Thangmeiband Sinam Leikai area in Imphal that left a television journalist dead.

The authorities Monday reimposed curfew from 11 a.m. in Imphal East and Imphal West districts after a large number of protestors took to the streets in Imphal to protest the police's inability to arrest the NSCN-IM (National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Isak-Muivah) leader who had allegedly molested a Manipuri film actress Dec 18 during a musical concert in Chandel district.

The government had also instituted an inquiry committee to probe the circumstances leading to the firing that led to the killing of the journalist, who was filming the protests Sunday.

A senior official of the Manipur police said the inquiry committee, headed by State Principal Secretary (Home) J. Suresh Babu, will submit the probe report to the government in a week's time.

On Sunday, the government had imposed curfew for 16 hours in Imphal West district and its adjoining areas - from 2 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday.

"The curfew was reimposed from 11 a.m. Monday till 11 a.m. Tuesday in the two districts of Imphal East and Imphal West after large numbers of protestors came out on to the streets demanding immediate action against the NSCN-IM leader.

"We did not want to take a risk, and so curfew was imposed," said a senior police official in Manipur.

The protesting organisations - Film Forum Manipur, the Manipur state Sumang Leela Council and other civil society organisations - have decided to suspend the indefinite statewide bandh, which was in force since Dec 22, till the midnight of Dec 26, in view of Christmas celebrations.

The organisations, however, made it clear that the agitation against the NSCN-IM would continue.

The Manipur government had said that appropriate compensation would be given to the family of the deceased journalist Th. Dwijamani Singh, who is survived by his wife, a son and daughter.

Meanwhile, Manipur Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam visited the troubled areas on Sunday evening and appealed for restraint.

Gaikhangam also said that the police had already taken up the probe of molestation of the Manipuri film actress by the Naga outfit leader and added that the troops of Assam Rifles had surrounded a camp of the NSCN-IM militants at Chandel district Sunday, but the accused leader, Livingstone Anal, was absconding.

The Manipur government had also taken up the matter with the union Home Ministry and urged them to pressurise the NSCN-IM leadership to hand over the accused to the Manipur Police so that the situation could be contained.