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Mobile net suspended in Manipur, Section 144 imposed in two districts

Updated on Aug 08, 2022 02:55 AM IST

Mobile internet services were suspended for five days on Saturday after a vehicle was reportedly set ablaze in Phougakchao Ikhai area of Bishnupur district by a group of unidentified persons. Hours after the incident, another vehicle was set on fire near Kangvai area of Churachandpur district

The district administrations of Bishnupur and Churachandpur also imposed section 144 (prohibition of assembly of three or more persons) of Criminal Code of Procedure (CrPC) for a period of two months by issuing two separate orders.(BACHCHAN KUMAR/HT PHOTO)
BySobhapati Samom, Imphal

Mobile internet services were suspended across Manipur to curb rumour mongering through spread of hate speeches and videos and prohibitory orders imposed in some areas, after two vehicles were reportedly set ablaze in Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts on Saturday, officials said.

Mobile internet services across the state were suspended for five days on Saturday after a vehicle was reportedly set ablaze in Phougakchao Ikhai area of Bishnupur district by a group of unidentified persons. Hours after the incident, another vehicle was set on fire near Kangvai area of Churachandpur district.

The reason behind the acts remained unclear till the time of filing this report.

“This (mobile internet suspension) order is issued to prevent any disturbance of peace and public order in the state of Manipur and shall be in force for next five days with immediate effect from the time this suspension order becomes operational or till further orders,” an order issued by special secretary (home) H Gyan Prakash said.

The district administrations of Bishnupur and Churachandpur also imposed section 144 (prohibition of assembly of three or more persons) of Criminal Code of Procedure (CrPC) for a period of two months by issuing two separate orders.

“The situation in Churachandpur is peaceful as of now because of the relevant measures taken up by district authorities and other initiatives by local bodies. No further untoward incident has been reported,” Churachandpur district deputy commissioner (DC) Sharath Arroju said.

The incidents of arson come against the backdrop of brewing tension over the arrests of five leaders of a students’ body seeking more autonomy in the hilly districts.

On August 3, five leaders of All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) were arrested for allegedly conspiring to impose an economic blockade in the hilly districts. The leaders were remanded in judicial custody for 15 days on Saturday.

The union on Friday had observed a 24-hour total shutdown along the national highways to protest against the alleged non-tabling of the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council (Amendment) Bill 2021 in the recently-concluded monsoon session of the assembly.

The bill, reports suggest, seeks greater financial and administrative autonomy of the hill region to ensure development at par with the valley areas of the state.

A demonstration demanding release of the ATSUM leaders by a group of students under the banner of All College Tribal Students’ Union (ACTSU) in Imphal on Saturday morning turned violent after police tried to disperse the crowd.

Both students and police personnel were injured amid incidents of stone pelting in the protest. An ACTSU functionary claimed nearly 20 students were injured.

The ATSUM has called for a meeting of all tribal bodies on Monday to discuss the bill, according to local media reports.

Meanwhile, the alleged imposition of the economic blockade in the state came under sharp criticism from Meitei Leepun, a Manipur-based organisation, that claimed the blockade was held to target the valley area. The organisation also locked an ATSUM office in Imphal on Friday.

Several trucks carrying essential commodities were stranded in the Nagaland sector of National Highway 2 (Imphal-Dimapur route) due to the economic blockade on Friday, police said.

“So far, more than 500 goods trucks have been escorted to Imphal from various parts of the highway,” a police officer stationed in Senapati district said.

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