The Manipur government has stepped up security of migrant labourers in the state in view of the killings of 16 of them by unidentified gunmen in last seven months.
Police have been asked to patrol round-the-clock places, particularly Imphal and surrounding areas, where migrant labourers work, sources said, adding the workers have been asked not to venture into interior areas of the state.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Imphal West district, L Kailun has appealed to these labourers to stay and work only within Imphal municipality and Imphal market areas.
Public Distribution and Supply minister Yumkham Erabot said that steps had been taken to protect migrant workers. Around 600 such labourers in Wangkhei assembly constituency have been asked to stay at government relief camps after they approached the minister in this regard.
As many as 16 migrant labourers have been killed this year in four valley districts of Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishenpur.
The recent incident was of a non-Manipuri labourer, who was gunned down at Sagolband area near here in Imphal west district last Tuesday.
Condemning the killings, Manipur People's Party (MPP) MLA Ng Bijoy had recently stated that inner line permit system which restricts the inflow of migrant labourers should be introduced in the state.
The system is in force in neighbouring Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, official sources said.
Though the number of non-Manipuri labourers in the state could not be known, United Committee Manipur (UCM) had earlier claimed that the number of non-residents in Manipur, including migrant labourers, was more than the whole tribal population of the state.
Last year, about 20 migrant labourers were killed. Papers left behind by the killers on the bodies read, 'go back to your state'.