Normalcy returns to Manipur valley

Normalcy returned to Manipur valley on Tuesday following suspension of ongoing `indefinite general strike` till December 26 midnight.

Imphal: Normalcy returned to Manipur valley on Tuesday following suspension of ongoing `indefinite general strike` till December 26 midnight, called against the alleged molestation of a film actress by a Naga militant and lifting of indefinite curfew in view of the Christmas festival.

Markets opened and transporters resumed their services as people in large number turned out to purchase essentials at various markets across the four valley districts of Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishenpur and Thoubal.

The curfew was lifted at 6 AM this morning and general strike suspended from midnight of December 24 to midnight December 26 in view of the Christmas festival, official sources said.

Large scale violence was reported yesterday in view of the confusion among some of the strike enforcers with a section maintaining the shutdown was on despite the President of the Film Forum Manipur (FFM) and some other artists associations announcing the relaxation of the strike in view of the Christmas, the sources said.

FFM sources threatened to resume the general strike from midnight of December 26 till the arrest of the Naga militant of NSCN-IM, who had allegedly molested film actress Momoko during a musical concert on December 18 at Chandel and fired at two artists who tried to save her.

The curfew had been imposed in four valley districts since 11 am yesterday following widespread violence as people protested the killing of a photojournalist Thangjam Dwijamani alias Nanao Singh in police firing when he was covering the general strike on Sunday.

The sources said an understanding has been reached between the government and joint action committee (JAC) formed by local residents of the locality of the photojournalist under which the government would order a proper enquiry to find out the culprits and punish them, compensate the victims and take steps to stop recurrence such incidents in future.

The photojournalist, an active member of the All Manipur Working Journalists Union was earlier working for Guwahati-based `Prime News` Channel, besides contributing pictures and stories to Doordarshan from time to time.

Meanwhile, hill-based United Naga Council (UNC) said in a statement that it has called a 72-hour bandh in `Naga areas` of the state from the December 26 midnight.

They alleged some tribals were attacked by supporters of the general strike during relaxation of the strike yesterday.

The statement did not cite any specific incident.