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Anti-militant rally held in Imphal
Correspondent IMPHAL, Jan 8:
Published on 9 Jan. 2009 2:33 AM IST
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Taxi drivers have gone on strike Thursday with a massive motor rally against militants extortion and hijacking of taxi vehicles, severely affecting the normal passenger service in state's capital city. They have also threatened to suspend passenger services if two tax hijacked by gunmen suspected to be militants apparently in connection with monetary demand be returned and if the militants outfits revoke pressing them to pay money they demanded. Drivers say they are angry that nothing has been done by the police to get back two tax service vehicles recently from the city area even though they lodged complaints to the concerned police station in time. Earlier this week, two gunmen hijacked a taxi service Tata Magic brand vehicle servicing from Imphal to Lilong on the Indo-Myanmar section of the NH-39 on the evening of the January 3 from Singjamei Chingamakha area. On the next, local police station (Singjamei PS) taken up a FIR case after the owner of the tax named Md Abdul Haqim lodged a complaint. Before this on December 24 last year, another taxi servicing along the same route had been hijacked by gunmen and the same is yet to return to the owner, the drivers revealed. While observing that the vehicles have been hijacked in connection with the non-payment of monetary demand served by the militants outfit, the protesting drivers demanded the militants not to demand "huge unbearable monetary demand" on them. "We have been under pressure from various militant outfits to pay money collectively by the taxi operators in Imphal which could be efforted by us," a member of the joint action committee formed by the taxi operators said in the condition of omitting his name. He did not disclose the amount and particulars of the militant out serving monetary demands from them. Around 100 taxi service vehicles took part in the massive motor rally that kicked off from Lilong Bazar at around 1 pm and moved round in the main streets in Imphal under strict police vigilant throughout the routes. "Take immediate action, find the hijackers and punish them, stop imposition of unbearable amount to the taxi operators, allow us to ear out livelihood, don't force to hold guns by public, don't point guns to public etc. the slogans shouted in during the rally said. They also asked "Why hijacked vehicles by UGs, what is the reason of hijacking vehicles, don't hide hijackers by the UGs (undergrounds)/ police." A memorandum urging to take appropriate action toward the hijacking of the vehicles and demanding a written assurance from the state home department for appropriate action not to recur incidents of hijacking vehicles also submitted to the state chief minister, O Ibobi Singh after the rally. The rally caused severe inconveniences to the people as they have suspended taxi service for the day.

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