Life cripple in Manipur’s tribal areas due to shutdown call

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Imphal, July 10 (IANS) Normal life remained crippled in several tribal-dominated districts in Manipur on Wednesday following a 12-hour shutdown call by the Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) to protest against the arrest of five village volunteers by the security personnel.

Police said that normal life was crippled as business establishments, markets, government and non-government offices, banks, and educational institutions were closed and the vehicles were off the roads in many of the tribal-dominated districts due to the shutdown, which started on Wednesday morning.

Vehicular movement on national and state highways were also badly affected as the protesters blocked the roads.

Displaying placards and banners, with the slogan, “We want justice, we want peace, punish killers and rapists, Central forces should be impartial,” thousands of men and women organised sit-in demonstrations in several districts.

Information and Publicity Secretary of the KIM Janghaolun Haokip claimed that Wednesday’s shutdown was total and spontaneous in six districts — Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Tengnoupal, Jiribam, Ukhrul and Chandel.

Haokip said that the recent arrests of five village volunteers are deeply unfortunate and pose a significant security threat to the Kuki-Zo people.

The KIM urged all Kuki-Zo regional organisations to strictly abide by this resolve to express solidarity for the common cause of their people, the fight against the “unlawful oppression, subjugation and persecution of our people and our legitimate demand for a Union Territory with a legislature for the Kuki-Zo people.”

The KIM, in a statement, alleged that the “valley-based militant groups are openly brandishing sophisticated arms and ammunition in the valley, the indiscriminate terrorising of the Kuki-Zo people and subsequent arrest of five village volunteers is a threat that belies all hopes for safety and security for the minority Kuki-Zo people who have been fully cooperative with law enforcement efforts.”

The Kuki Women Organisation for Human Rights strongly condemned the burning down of the house of a KIM leader at Phaitol village in Jiribam district on Monday, allegedly by Arambai Tenggol, a radical outfit of the Meitai community.

The organisation in a statement also claimed that the security forces brutally assaulted seven tribal women with sticks and rifle butts and condemned the incident.

–IANS

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