CM cancels Ccpur trip as violent clashes continue
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, April 28 2023: Sporadic clashes between demonstrators and police continued late into the night in and around Churachandpur town which chief minister N Biren was scheduled to visit to attend different events and address the public at Sadbhavna Mandap on Friday.

Biren had earlier in the day indicated his plans to visit Churachandpur had been deferred at the request of the organisers following protests and a 8-hour shutdown called by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum to protest eviction of Kuki villagers from reserved forest areas.

Sources said that police were forced to lob tear gas shells to disperse a large crowd which had gathered and was pelting stones at security forces deployed to keep the peace in the shutdown hit town.

"There were no injuries despite the stone pelting.

Deployment of forces will continue to oversee the situation," officials said.

Clashes between security forces and mob broke out from about 12:30 pm Friday near the Sadbhavna Mandap as people started to assemble.

The mob used slingshots and pelted stones towards the people who started to gather at the Mandap.

The intense stone pelting caused the people assembled there to run for cover.

Meanwhile the attack on security forces intensified and the conflict lasted till around 11:20 pm at various places.

Reason for the continued attacked on security forces was detention of two persons, while others were released.

The mob attack on the security forces continued at New Lamka area even till late in the night with the police mounting counter attack and at times retreating.

On the other hand, the same violence occurred in Tuibuong area where a mob gathered and pelted stones at the security forces and blocked the roads.

Similar scenes also unfolded in Kangvai and K Salbung area along the Tedim road.

The chief minister was scheduled to address a public meeting at Sadbhavna Mandap and inaugurate an open gym at PT Sports complex, both in New Lamka town.

However, on Thursday a protesting mob had attacked the venue and set fffe to about a 100 chairs and other equipment.

Biren said his plans to visit Churachandpur district have been deferred after the local legislator who had invited him decided to postpone the function.

"The local MLA had invited me to a celebration and to inaugurate the open gym," the CM told reporters on the sidelines of an agriculture department function here.

"LM Khaute, MLA from Churachandpur constituency has requested me not to come now and said the open gym will be repaired soon," he said.

Biren also questioned the "indigenousness" of the organisation Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) which called the 8-hour shutdown and said "What indigenous people.

We are indigenous people.

Nagas are indigenous people.

Kukis are indigenous people.

What indigenous tribal?".

Meanwhile, prohibitory order has been clamped and mobile internet services suspended in Churachandpur district.

The District Magistrate of Churachandpur based on a report from the Superintendent of Police that there is a likelihood of breach of peace, disturbance to public tranquillity and grave danger to human lives and public properties clamped prohibitory order under Section 144 of CrPC in the tribal-dominated district.

An order issued by the Home department said "to prevent any disturbance to the peace and order the suspension of mobile internet services shall be in force for the next five days with immediate effect in Churachandpur and Pherzawl districts." The 8-hour shutdown of Churachandpur district called by the ILTF to protest the eviction of Kuki villagers from protected forests paralysed normal life in the tribal-dominated southern Manipur district on Friday.

New Lamka town wore a deserted look as all private and public vehicles kept off the road except for those of security personnel.

Markets were closed with all shops and establishments pulling down their shutters, police said.

Protesters were seen blocking roads and burning tyres in the morning.

They had also piled up debris at the entrance gate of the New Lamka town but this was later cleared by police teams.

A huge police force has been deployed at all major junctions and large localities of the town to prevent any unwanted activities, an official said.

So far, no report of any violence has been reported from anywhere in the t, police said.

The ILFT claimed that despite the repeated submission of memorandums to the government protesting an ongoing eviction drive to clear reserved forested areas of farmers and other tribal settlers, "the government has shown no sign of willingness or sincerity in addressing the plight of the people" .

Sources said that prohibitory order was clamped and mobile internet services suspended after an unruly mob vandalised and set on fire the venue where the chief minister was scheduled to attend a programme.

An unruly mob on Thursday night vandalised and set on fire the venue where the CM is scheduled to attend a programme at New Lamka town.

Local police quickly swung into action and dispersed the mob but not before the venue was damaged with hundreds of chairs were damaged.

The agitated mobs managed to partially torch the newly set-up open gym at PT Sports complex at New Lamka which CM Biren was slated to inaugurate on Friday afternoon.

Tension have been prevailing in Churachandpur district after forest officials supported by a large number of police personnel, evicted the Kuki village of K Sonjang in Henglep sub-division of the district on February 20 .

(With inputs from Agencies) .

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