Hundreds defy curfew in Manipur

The police used teargas and smoke bombs as hundreds of protesters defied curfew clamped on Monday on the entire Manipur valley.

Imphal: The police used teargas and smoke bombs as hundreds of protesters defied curfew clamped on Monday on the entire Manipur valley to demand arrest of a Naga militant who had allegedly molested a film actress and to protest the death of a photojournalist.

The protestors took out rallies, blocked roads and burnt tyres in Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishenpur and Thoubal districts, official sources said.

Earlier, protestors hit the streets as soon as the 16-hour curfew clamped in Imphal East and Imphal West districts from 2:00 pm yesterday ended this morning, the sources said.

The police fired smoke bombs and teargas at Thangmeiband area, near here, where photojournalist Thangjam Nanao Singh was killed in police firing yesterday, they said.

The protestors shouted slogans against the killing and demanded a judicial enquiry and punishment for the policemen responsible.

A spokesman of the Kangleipak Students Organisation also demanded an inquiry into yesterday`s police firing.

Police fired teargas shells at Irilbung on the outskirts of the city, Khuyathong, Sagolband, Wangkhei, Nongmeibung and other places, they said.

At Nagamapal area here and some other places on the periphery of the city, hundreds of people defied curfew and took out rallies to demand arrest of the militant who was reported to be hiding in the jungles in Chandel district, the sources said.

At Sinam Leikai area near here, a bus which was to transport people to Ukhrul hill district to enable them to celebrate Christmas was set ablaze, they said.

At Tharoijam area, the protestors set afire to a two wheeler after it attempted to pass through a road blockade with the rider managing to escape, police sources said.

The house of the president of Manipur Film Forum (MFF) Surjakanta Sharma at Nagamapal area was partly destroyed by protestors for announcing a relaxation of the `general strike` last evening.

Sharma had yesterday announced relaxation of the general strike from midnight last night till December 26 midnight in view of Christmas.

A section of the MFF, however, disagreed and told local media last evening that there was no question of relaxation of the general strike.

At Wangkhei, Nongmeibung in Imphal East district and some places in Imphal West district, effigies of the Naga militant Livingstone Anal was burnt.

An effigy of the militant was also carried in a mock funeral procession as per Manipuri tradition at Wangkhei.

The militant had allegedly molested actress Momoko and threatened two other artistes at Chandel on December 18 while she was compering a song competition and also fired from his gun.

Hundreds of people from the hills who came here to shop and celebrate Christmas with their relatives were being sent back under police escort, while hundreds of others were stranded at different police stations, the sources said.

The sources said that the situation was somewhat under control with protestors being dispersed, but the situation remained tense.

Union Information minister Manish Tiwari expressed shock at the killing of the photojournalist and shared the grief of his family members, according to a PIB release here.