Indefinite curfew imposed in Manipur, seven dead in clashes
Violence flared up in Manipur on Tuesday as three people died allegedly in clashes with police a day after an angry mob torched the houses of a minister and five legislators to protest new state laws that aim to regulate the influx of outsiders.india Updated: Sep 03, 2015 21:45 IST
Violence flared up in Manipur on Tuesday as three people died allegedly in clashes with police a day after an angry mob torched the houses of a minister and five legislators to protest new state laws that aim to regulate the influx of outsiders.
Officials said the confrontation occurred when demonstrators tried to storm and burn down a police station in Churachandpur town, about 65km south of capital Imphal, which has been the epicentre of the protests that kicked off after the assembly passed three bills on Monday to protect the northeastern state’s indigenous people.
An indefinite curfew has been imposed in the district headquarters following the outbreak of violence that has claimed seven lives.
Some tribal groups called a shutdown in the hill districts on Monday, apprehensive that the laws passed after months of protests will be used to take away their rights.
“The manner in which the said bills are being bulldozed and passed unanimously without any discussion or debate on the floor of the House is undemocratic and unparliamentary,” said a joint declaration of Churachandpur-based tribal bodies Kuki Inpi, Hmar Inpui and Zomi Council after a meeting.
The groups asked the assembly’s hill areas committee to convene a meeting and take appropriate steps to either repeal the bills or insert exceptional clauses in them within 10 days while appealing to all sections of society to desist from violence.
However, education minister and government spokesperson M Okendro told the media after a council of ministers’ emergency meeting on Monday that the laws would not infringe upon the interests of the hill people and were aimed at scrutinising the sale of land to non-Manipuri people or non-permanent residents.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and assured him central assistance to tackle the situation.
“Spoke to Manipur CM Shri Ibobi Singh regarding incidents of violence in Churachandpur area. Centre is closely monitoring the situation,” the home minister tweeted.
Life in Manipur has been paralysed since July by a campaign seeking the imposition of an Inner Line Permit (ILP) system to check the flow of immigrants.
The new laws are expected to pave the way for ILP on the lines of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland where outsiders have to carry government-issued travel documents in protected areas. The movement intensified after the death of a student in police action on July 8.
The combined population of the indigenous people living in the hills and plains of the state is around 1.9 million, while immigrants, including those from Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh, constitute about 1 million, according to the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System, an umbrella organisation of 30 civil bodies in Manipur.