An uneasy calm prevails in Manipur, UNC demands PR

By Prasanta Mazumdar

IMPHAL: After a series of violent incidents in the past few days, an uneasy calm prevailed in restive Manipur on Tuesday even as the United Naga Council (UNC), which choked supplies by enforcing an indefinite economic blockade on two national highways, demanded the imposition of President’s rule (PR) in the state.

UNC leaders were not available for comments but sources said a UNC delegation met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and his deputy Kiren Rijiju in New Delhi on Tuesday. It raised the demand for imposition of PR while talking to the media later. The UNC alleged that the Okram Ibobi Singh government’s decision on the creation of seven more districts, which triggered the unrest, was aimed at appeasing the Kukis ahead of next year’s Assembly polls. Chin-Mizo-Kukis are Manipur’s third largest community after the Meiteis (Manipuris) and the Nagas.

Meanwhile, curfew continued in trouble-torn Imphal East district and internet services remained suspended in Imphal West district.

A mob set fire to a church at Pangei in Imphal East district on Monday night in which it was partially burnt. Sources said in the face of the attack, the church founder Amos Building and pastor S Kom fled the area and took refuge at the house of a relative, who works with Manipur Rifles.

There have been no reports of any untoward incident since. Hundreds of people were stranded in Manipur’s Imphal Valley as well as Nagaland after bus and taxi services on Nagaland-Manipur highway were suspended in the aftermath of the burning down of a number of vehicles by the protestors.

In Imphal, some tribal and church organisations will meet on Wednesday to discuss people’s hardships, triggered by the blockade. A united front called “Goodwill Mission for Peaceful Co-existence” was formed by various communities to try and restore normalcy.

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