Imphal: More than 10 people were injured when Manipur security forces fired tear gas shells on protesters for trying to storm police stations and court arrest demanding the unconditional release of the five arrested youths on Thursday. As a precautionary measure, the state government cancelled curfew relaxations in the twin districts of Imphal from 5 PM, officials said.
Responding to a call by six local clubs and Meira Paibis demanding the release of the five village volunteers, hundreds of protesters holding placards and shouting slogans tried to enter the Porompat police station in Imphal East and Singjamei police station and Kwakeithel police outpost in Imphal West district. However, police and RAF personnel deployed at strategic positions fired several rounds of tear gas shells to disperse the crowd.
A protester, identified as Th Bimola at Porompat said, “We were left with no option but to court arrest as the government failed to release the five village volunteers. If such village volunteers are arrested, who will protect the Meitei villages in the periphery of the hills and the valley Kuki Zo militants.” Similar attempts to enter the Mayang Imphal police station in Imphal West district and the Andro police station in the Imphal East district were also reported.
All Langthabal Kendra United Clubs Coordinating Committee president Yumnam Hitler said, “The decision to launch the ‘voluntary mass arrest’ agitation was taken after the government took no steps to release the five arrested youths.”
On September 16, Manipur Police arrested five persons for carrying sophisticated weapons and donning camouflage uniforms. In a statement, police said the five had been produced before the judicial magistrate and remanded to police custody.
In the evening, the state government cancelled curfew relaxation in the twin districts of Imphal in the wake of the violence.
According to an official order by the district magistrate of Imphal West, “Curfew hours, which was relaxed from 5 AM to 9 PM on September 21, stands withdrawn with effect from 5 pm and restriction of movement of general public outside their residences is enforced in all areas of Imphal West district.”
Similar orders were also imposed in Imphal East district, officials said.