Agitators vandalise NSU in Manipur

Correspondent IMPHAL, Jan 29 | Publish Date: 1/29/2021 1:25:44 PM IST

 Five policemen hurt in scuffle

As many as five police personnel were injured as agitators armed with deadly weapons intruded into the under construction permanent campus of the National Sports University and ransacked the campus on Friday.

The agitators further torched some makeshift camps of the labourers, vandalised machineries and damaged a car parked inside the NSU campus belonging to a policeman guarding the campus, reports said.

Additional police force who rushed to the spot fired several rounds of tear gas shells and used mock bombs to put the agitators under control.

The situation was brought under control but tensions were running high in the area even as additional armed police personnel were detailed to protect the campus from further vandalism. Today’s violent incident inside the under construction NSU was related to a fresh controversy over the ownership of the land demarcated for the construction of the permanent campus of the varsity. The under construction NSU campus at Koutruk in Imphal West district bordering Kangpokpi district is mired in controversies on ownership of the land allotted by the state government to the Centre for construction of the campus.

Civil society organisations based in Kangpokpi district have been claiming that the land lies within the administrative jurisdiction of the Kangpokpi district even as the land was allotted by the Imphal West district administration. While the matter was yet to be settled, a fresh controversy surfaced when Konsakhul, a village close to the NSU campus strongly claimed that the land belonged to the village and government had allotted the land without the prior consent of the villagers.

Since Wednesday, villagers were protesting to put  on hold all works related to the development of the site until and unless they reached an agreement with the state government.

The villagers have been blocking the roads leading to the campus with fences, stretching trees and piling stones on the roads.

The NSU should not be built without the consent of the village”, the agitating villagers demanded. They alleged that their repeated appeals to the authorities concerned to construct the NSU with the consent of the village were unheeded. Today’s violent incident happened as their repeated appeals fell on deaf ears and barely a day after the villagers threatened intense forms of if the construction went ahead without reaching an agreement with the government. Meanwhile, villagers of Koutruk supporting the construction of the campus alleged that it was armed miscreants who set afire the makeshift camps of the labourers and vandalised the machineries. They also alleged negligence on the part of the police personnel detailed to protect the campus despite the tense situation brewing up in the area.

They said that sensing some destructive activities from the agitators, a group of women from the village (Koutruk) went to the campus to assist the police in preventing any untoward incident inside the campus.

However, police let them back saying that they were there to guard the campus from any damage.

It was only after a few minutes had they returned  from the campus that a group of armed miscreants descended from the hilltop attacked the campus and damaged the properties of the NSU..

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