Manipur: Violence spreads to Senapati district, CM Ibobi appeals for calm

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Imphal: The situation in Manipur remained tense with violence spreading on Monday to Senapati district where miscreants torched two vehicles even as chief minister Okram Ibobi on Monday appealed for peace among different ethnic groups of the state.

Night curfew was reimposed in Imphal West district from Monday evening, an order of the district magistrate said. Curfew had been imposed there in 6.30pm on Sunday evening and lifted at 4am on Monday . In a message, the chief minister appealed for peace and harmony among different ethnic groups of the state.

Indefinite curfew continues to remain in force in Imphal East district where mobile data services were suspended since Sunday to prevent spread of rumours. This will be in force till 25 December. Unidentified persons torched two vehicles including one passenger bus at Naga Taphou area in Senapati district in the morning on Monday, a police officer said. On Sunday night at around 10.30pm, four vehicles of former minister Marung Makunga were vandalised at Saombung in Imphal East district, the police said.

The police were on high alert to contain any further outbreak of violence in the wake of Sunday’s incident at Imphal-Ukhrul Road where 22 vehicles were vandalised by a mob. Indefinite curfew in Imphal East was clamped after locals vandalised vehicles on Imphal-Ukhrul road to protest against the ongoing economic blockade by the United Naga Council (UNC) on the National Highways since 1 November.

Also Read: United Naga Council ignores call by Centre to lift economic blockade in Manipur

The landlocked state has been experiencing severe hardship in supply of essential items since 1 November after UNC imposed an indefinite economic blockade on the two national highways that serve as lifelines for the state. The UNC has been agitating against the government decision to create Sadar Hills and Jiribam into full fledged districts, claiming it would bifurcate ancestral lands of Nagas in Manipur.

Manipur cabinet on 9 December decided to form seven new districts, bifurcating the existing nine. Four new districts have been formally inaugurated. Tension escalated after militants ambushed Manipur Police and other state forces in the last few days that left three policemen dead and 14 others injured on 15 December. The attack was followed by triple bomb blasts at Nagaram area in Imphal West district allegedly by Manipur Naga People’s Front the very next day. In another incident, suspected militants overpowered a small outpost of Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) at Nungkao area on 17 December in Tamenglong district and fled with nine service weapons.