By Our Staff Reporters
IMPHAL, Jan 11: At least four people, including a woman and a protester were injured when police resorted to tear gas shelling to disperse a group of protesters who were staging a protest demonstration against the passage of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 at Khwairamband Market today.
The injured persons have been identified as Thoudam Shanti Devi (60) of Kakwa, Thomas Chiru (25) of Kangchup Chiru, Md Sharajur of Lilong Kalei-khong and Atom Tampha- yai Singh (18) of Johnstone Higher Secondary School.
Thomas Chiru and Sharajur were hit by tear gas shells on thighs and legs respectively while Tampha-yai was hospitalized after he lost consciousness as he inhaled the tear gas which fell beside him.
All the injured persons have been discharged from RIMS Hospital and Raj Medicity, North AOC after they were given necessary treatment.
The incident happened when police tried to prevent a rally cum protest demonstration which was orga- nized by AMSU, DESAM, MSF, SUK, KSA and AIMS at around 2.40 pm.
A similar protest rally staged simultaneously by Left parties on the streets of BT Road on the same issue made the situation more tense and charged even though the Left parties’ rally was contained successfully by a police team without any untoward incident.
The student protesters shouted slogans and marched through BT Road and Kangla Western Gate. They later assembled together at Shamumakhong shouting various slogans, like “BJP Government down down, Narendra Modi down down”.
The protesters also burnt copies of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
The protest demonstration was soon joined by the womenfolk of Ima Market. When the large number of protesters tried to march towards Kangla Western Gate, scuffled ensued between the protesters and police who tried to thwart the rally.
In the meantime, the traffic flow along BT Road was blocked for a long time. Subsequently vehicular traffic was then diverted towards Paona Bazar and Nagamapal. As such, the traffic volume gradually increased creating a chaotic situation along the BT Road and Paona Bazar.
After half an hour of confrontation between police and the protesters, police reinforcements led by Imphal West SP Jogesh-chandra Haobijam and SDPO Hemanta arrived and police resorted to tear gas shelling to disperse the protesters.
Later, Imphal West DC N Pravin also arrived at the spot and took stock of the situation.
Speaking to reporters on the sideline of the protest demonstration, AMSU president Manjit Sarangthem conveyed that the students’ community in the State has been further enraged after NESO and All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) delegates who went to visit the injured protesters against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Tripura recently were prevented from meeting the injured allegedly by the State’s BJP Government.
He decried that the people of the North East are being discriminated by the Government of India for their racial stock which is different from mainland India.
He also termed the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Lok Sabha forcefully by BJP despite strong opposition from the people of the North East and some of its allies in the North East as the most shocking development.
The AMSU president then said that the six students’ organizations which organized today’s rally will continue to fight tooth and nail to defend the State and the North East from BJP’s sinister ploy to saffronise the whole North East by diluting the real identities and ethnicity of the people of the North East region.
By Our Staff Reporters