Violence continues in Manipur despite curfew

Posted on July 10, 2015 from Manipur, National ι Report #12851

Imphal, July 10 (IANS) Violence continued in Manipur on Friday despite indefinite curfew imposed by the authorities to tackle protests which broke out after a student was killed by police on Wednesday during a march demanding a stringent law to check the influx of immigrants.

Violating the curfew, people in some parts of the town took to the streets and put up blockades to stop movement of vehicles and people. The police fired tear gas to disperse protestors in some areas.

"The situation is still tense but totally under control. We are able to maintain law and order situation but curfew is still clamped," Manipur Special Director General of Police Santosh Macherla told IANS over phone.

"Protests are still continuing in some parts of Imphal. As long as they are protesting peacefully, we are not disturbing them but we have acted against them in certain areas as they turned violent", Macherla said.

Six Joint Committee of Inner Line Permit (JCILPS) leaders have been arrested by the Manipur police for violating the curfew order.

Normal life has come to standstill and operations at various hospitals have been cancelled. Emergency services have also been affected as ambulances were not able to traverse since the protestors under the banner of JCILPS have blocked the roads with burning tyres and wooden planks fitted with nails.

JCILPS had launched a stir demanding the implementation of the British-era Inner Line Permit (ILP) system to regulate entry of outsiders into the state.

Inner Line Permit is an official travel document issued by the central government to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected/restricted area for a limited period. It is obligatory for Indian citizens, not residents of those states, to obtain a permit for entering the restricted areas.

Early this year, Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh introduced the 'Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers' Bill 2015 in the assembly to safeguard the interests of the indigenous people of the state.

However, JCILPS said the bill was protecting the interests of immigrants rather than the indigenous people of Manipur.

Meanwhile, the Joint Action Committee, an umbrella body of social organisations constituted following the killing of Sapam Robinhood, a student from Ananda Singh Academy Higher Secondary School, on Wednesday by the state police during the protest march demanding the implementation of the Inner Line Permit, refused to claim the body.

"Sapam Robinhood has sacrificed his priceless life for the people of the state. We will not claim his body unless the government endorsed the demands made by the JCILP," JAC Convener, Raghubir Salam said.

Calling the Congress-led government under Chief Minister Okram Ibobi a "criminal government who killed students", Salam warned the government of further intensifying the agitation until the demands are met.

"It is time that the people of the state join hands and fight against the government in making them realise that Inner Line permit system is very necessary to implement at the earliest before the people become slave to the increasing influx."

The JCILPS has also threatened to further intensify its agitation to put pressure on the government to implement the Inner Line Permit system.

"We are not at all happy with the 'Manipur Regulation of Visitors, Tenants and Migrant Workers' Bill 2015. The people of Manipur were expecting a stringent law besides preventing migrants from land ownership right. We want the government to implement the Inner Line Permit system like it exists in Nagaland or Mizoram," JCILPS convenor Khomdram Ratan said.