By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Sep 19 : Normal life was severely affected on day 1 of the ongoing 48-hour bandh imposed by the All Langthabal Kendra Clubs Coordinating Committee demanding unconditional release of five village defence volunteers arrested by police on September 16.
The first day of the bandh saw Meira Paibis in all localities of Imphal coming out in large number to enforce the bandh. Vehicular movements were obstructed at various strategic points except for essential services, media and air passengers. All major markets, local shops, educational establishments and Government offices remained closed.
Security personnel also fired several rounds of tear gas shells and mock bombs in different parts of the State capital to disperse bandh supporters who came out in large number from early morning onwards. Heavy objects and burning of tyres were seen placed along Uripok-Kangchup road, Imphal-Jiribam road, Tiddim road, Imphal-Ukhrul road, Imphal-Moreh road, Kongba road, Porompat DC road and other major roads in Imphal.
In an ugly incident, a 25 year old physically challenged youth and his 60 year old father were brutally assaulted in the courtyard of their own home at Khurai Thangjam Leikai by Central armed forces on the pretext of dispersing bandh supporters at the locality.
According to one Jibonbala of the locality, the incident occured this afternoon when central armed personnel went inside the house of Thounaojam Nonichand who was watching TV and dragged him out with his physically disabled son before trashing them brutally in their own courtyard.
The injured father-son duo were rushed to a nearby hospital immediately after the security personnel left the scene.
She also strongly condemned the brutality of the security personnel.
Later at around 3 pm, Imphal West district police and RAF personnel also fired several rounds of tear gas shells and mock bombs along the Sagolband Langjing road to facilitate the movement of Security Advisor Kuldeep Singh from Group Centre CRPF.
Front windshield of a bus transporting RAF personnel got damaged during the commotion between the bandh supporters and the security personnel at Tera Bazar.
Womenfolk of Kwakeithel Thounaojam Leikai also came out in large number and blocked one lane of Tiddim Road portion by hanging phaneks in support of the bandh. Speaking to this reporter, one woman condemned the arrest of the village defence volunteers and questioned as to why the Government remain silent when Kuki narco-terrorists carry out offensives and openly extort money on the highways.
Muscle flexing only in the valley districts will not be accepted, she said while demanding immediate and unconditional release of the arrested volunteers. She also went on to say that the womenfolk of the locality will launch a more intense form of agitation if the arrested volunteers are not released. In the meantime, Salai Apunba Nupi Lamjing Lup (SANULAL) has also echoed the same during a press conference at Manipur Press Club.
Speaking to the media, SANULAL general secretary Akoijam Shanti said that the arrest of the volunteers at this critical juncture was uncalled for.
Shanti said that the youths were forced to volunteer for safeguarding the peripheral villages of the Imphal valley when both State and central security personnel were unable to stop the onslaught of Kuki terrorists.
Why are they arrested while Kukis are allowed to openly carry sophisticated firearms and attack Meitei villages, Shanti questioned. She also asked whether different laws are being applied in the valley and the hills.
In view of the ongoing bandh and tense situation, heavy security measures have been taken up and security personnel are being deployed in important junctions of the State capital to prevent any kind of further unwanted incident.