Curfew continued in Manipur’s violence-hit Imphal East district, where protesters opposed to the blockade imposed by United Naga Council (UNC) burnt over 20 vehicles on Sunday, but the situation was under control, sources said on Monday.
There has been no report of any casualty and people stranded after the violence have also been evacuated to safer places, they added.
“So far there is no report any unwanted incident in this locality,” a policeman on duty at Lamlong Bazar in Imphal East district said.
An indefinite curfew was imposed in the district on Sunday evening after protesters opposed to the UNC’s indefinite economic blockade on the two national highways, which serve as the lifeline for the state, targeted vehicles on the way to Ukhrul at Khurai and set over 20 buses and SUVs on fire.
Sunday’s violence broke out as a state police team was escorting a convoy of private vehicles, including buses, as a large number of people were blocking the Imphal-Ukhrul road as part of a “counter blockade”.
The UNC, which claims to be a common platform for Nagas in Manipur, imposed a blockade of Imphal-Dimapur (NH2) and Imphal-Jiribam (NH37) from November 1 to protest the state government’s proposed move to create two new districts — Jiribam and Sadar Hills. The council feels the move by the government will hurt their interests.
Manipur has been witnessing “counter blockade” at various places since the last few days against the UNC’s indefinite blockade. The blockade has restricted entry of trucks carrying essential supplies to the state and scarcity of goods has led prices to escalate. The cost of petroleum products has almost doubled.
Demonetisation of old currency notes, which came into effect a week after the blockade, has further worsened the situation.
Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh appealed people to remain calm and maintain age-old communal harmony in a televised address on Sunday night. “The government is making all out efforts to ensure that no such unfortunate incident happen again,” Ibobi said while cautioning anti-social elements.
The state authorities also blocked mobile internet service in most parts of the state to prevent rumour mongering through social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and SMS services.
Last week, there were several attacks on security personnel at various locations in which three security personnel were killed and nearly a dozen injured. Three blasts, by known miscreants, rocked Imphal on Friday. There were no injuries.
Even as the curfew was enforced in Imphal East district, normal life was reported in almost all other district headquarters including the state’s capital.