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Imphal rocked by anti-militant slogans

About 1,500 villagers took to the streets demanding lifting of ban imposed on them by militants in Heirok, Imphal-west district of Manipur on Wednesday. (EP)
Correspondent, IMPHAL, SEP 24
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Published on 25 Sep. 2008 12:25 AM IST
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Thousands of slogan-shouting villagers from three villages of Heirok in Thoubal district, Wednesday afternoon took to the streets of Imphal demonstrating against militants who imposed ban on them from moving outside their respective villages.Police fired tear gas and mob dispersion shells when the rallyists attempted to go towards the road leading to the chief minister's bungalow that was not included in the route as permitted by the authorities. An estimated 15,000 villagers took part in the rally shouting slogans and carrying placards such as "You militants will you get freedom after killing Heirok people," "Justice before killing," "Protect life of innocents," "Stop acts of terrorism," "Act in accordance with the people wish" and "Don't kill us in the name of earning freedom." The main banner of the rally, which was escorted by a strong police force throughout its routes read "We don't agree you (militants) when you cannot fight with your rival (security force)." Around 150 vehicles carried the villagers up to Imphal upto Lilong bridge, and from there the rallyists marched on foot to Palace compound where a meeting was planned. The administration had granted permission for the meeting on the condition that the villagers would hold the meeting at Palace compound and return to their villages after the meeting. But police had to fire tear gas and mob dispersion shells as the rallyists in the front attempted to forcibly cross the restricted area by confronting the police. Some rallyists received minor injuries in the stampede. The meeting at Palace compound was planned to air the grievances faced by the people of Heirok following the militants' diktat, said vice president Basanta, People Organization for Civil Integrity and Liberty, POCIL who organized the rally along with the JAC of Heirok people. Two militant outfits, UNLF and KYKL had prohibited people of Heirok from going outside from their respective villages after they refused to withdraw to their decision to receive arms from the state government for self protection by opening Special Police Office, SPO in the villages. The villagers had decided to receive the arms for self protection after three youths of the village including two girls where killed when PREPAK militants resorted to indiscriminate firing on the village youth celebrating holi festival in March this year.

 
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