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Protests on in Manipur

Protester throwing stones at police personnel in Imphal during 48-hour state wide general strike called by Apunba Lup on Tuesday. (EP)
Correspondent IMPHAL, Aug 4:
Published on 5 Aug. 2009 2:03 AM IST
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“Sharda ceremony of my son will not performed till Ibobi (chief ministeri) is dead,” cried Itobi Devi, mother of 27-year old Chongkham Sanjit who was killed by the police commandos on July 23 last which was widely publicized by Tehelka magazine. The grief stricken mother of the murdered former PLA member who was killed in a fake encounter in the crowded Khwairamband Bazar, has demanded that chief minister, O Ibobi resign and police commandos involved be awarded life imprisonment. “The pictures shown in the Tehelka news magazine is the hard evidence. What more evidence does this government want?” asked Th Anita Devi, convener of the local joint action committee spearheading the agitation after the shocking fake encounter was reproduced by local dailies on August 1. Ironically, chief minister Ibobi Singh’s statement on the floor of the assembly on the day that Sanjit was murdered on July 23 : “hatpa natna upai leite” (meaning no other way other than killing), has riled people and political parties. Another pregnant woman was also killed due to indiscriminate firing on the same day while the Assembly session was in progress. Devi also alleged that chief minister chose to remain in New Delhi in order to avoid public pressure . “ But we will not retreat from our agitations till our demands for befitting punishment is awarded to the police commandos who kill people in fake encounters or Ibobi resigns as chief minister”. Chief minister, O Ibobi is currently in New Delhi on business related with the finalization of annual outlay for the year 2009-10. He is scheduled to back Imphal Wednesday. Meanwhile, sounds of gun fire rocked Imphal and its outskirts Tuesday as agitation and general strike went into full gear in protest against killing of scores of people in fake encounters. Police firing tear gas shells and rubberized bullets to quell mobs of stone throwing protesters resulting in injuries to more then ten including a woman. State police chief, Y Joykumar has convened a security meeting Tuesday in his office chamber with the heads of the state and central security establishments. Hundreds of volunteers took to the erected blockades at every main road while public also lent support to the 48-hour general strike imposed by the Apunba Lup, an apex body of civil organizations and local women bodies. In some places, young women blocking the road exposed their body with only inner wears when police tried to disperse them, a situation which police and even reporters felt reluctant to enter. In New Delhi, scores of students staged a protest outside the Manipur house over the killing. The protest was jointly organised by the Manipur Students Association-Delhi (MSAD) and various other organisations. “After this Tehelka expose, we can say that our commandoes are not our security persons rather they are just the security for the MLAs,” said Shandhyarani, MSAD. Indefinite curfew was imposed within Imphal municipal limit from 10 pm Tuesday.

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