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Manipur’s Churachandpur Situation Remains ‘Grim’, Night Curfew Initiated

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IMPHAL, April 29 (PTI): The situation in violence-hit Churachandpur in Manipur remained “grim”, with unidentified miscreants setting fire to forest department building, even as night curfew was imposed in the district from Saturday, officials said.

A group of people torched the office building of the range forest officer in Tuibong area around midnight, and several fire tenders were pressed into service to douse the flames, they said.

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Public property worth lakhs were reportedly destroyed and official documents burnt in the blaze, a police officer said.

Local tribals have been agitating for the last few months against a drive to evict villagers from reserve forest areas.

Night curfew has been imposed in the district from 5 pm to 5 am from Saturday until further orders, according to an official notification.

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC and suspension of mobile internet services will also continue in the district, the officials said.

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“The situation is still grim. Security has been bolstered at all major junctions and large localities of the town to prevent any untoward incident,” the police officer said.

Fresh clashes had erupted between demonstrators and police personnel in Churachandpur town on Friday night, with the security forces using batons, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the mob.

Locals claimed that some people were killed and many injured in the police action, hours after a bandh called by Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) concluded at 4 pm. However, there was no official confirmation on casualties or injuries to people.

The eight-hour shutdown, called to protest against the eviction of Kuki villagers from protected forests, paralysed normal life in the tribal-dominated southern Manipur district.

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Earlier on Friday, clashes broke out between protestors and police at Sadbhavna Mandap in New Lamka in Churachandpur district, the venue where chief minister N Biren Singh was scheduled to address a public meeting, police said.

Singh, however, deferred the visit following protests and the call for bandh.

Large scale protests and vandalism really started on Thursday when a protesting mob attacked the venue of the chief minister’s planned function and set fire to about 100 chairs and other equipment.

 

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The Hills Timeshttps://www.thehillstimes.in/
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