TODAY -
13 KILLED IN FIRING AS PROTESTORS GO ON RAMPAGE
Source: The Imphal Free Press

Imphal, June 18: At least 13 persons were killed and more than 50 injured, some seriously, when a large-scale riot erupted in the state capital on the third and last day of the general strike sponsored by the AMUCO and AMSU today against the extension of cease-fire between the government of India and NSCN(I-M) into the territory of Manipur.

Infuriated protestors set ablaze the Manipur legislative Assembly, chief minister's office, Speaker's residence, offices of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (I), Manipur State Congress Party, and residential quarters of ministers and MLAs.

The BJP and Samata Party offices were also damaged by the rampaging mob.

On the last day of the general strike called by the AMUCO and AMSU demanding review of the agreement between the government of India and NSCN(I-M) �without territorial limit�, infuriated mobs converging from different directions in their thousands marched this morning towards the Raj Bhavan where they burnt effigies of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Union home minister LK Advani, PM's special envoy K Padmanabhiah and NSCN(I-M) leaders Th Muivah and Isak and BJP leader RK Dorendra and shouted war cries such as "death to Vajpayee" "don't disintegrate Manipur", "no cease-fire in Manipur" and "we'll die for Manipur".
Before 11 a.m.: Several groups of angry mobs in thousands came from different places to converge in front of the Raj Bhavan.

However security personnel of Manipur Police, Manipur Rifles, IRB and CRPF formed cordons at Palace Gate, Keisampat and Uripok near Cheirap Court and intercepted the protestors.

At Palace Gate, a scuffle between the protestors and police and MR personnel took place when the latter resorted to baton charge and lobbed tear gas shells and fired several rounds in the air to disperse the crowd who pelted stones at the security personnel.

The director general of police, Manipur, AA Sidiqui, and other high-ranking police officials rushed at Palace Gate and tried to control the huge mob.

But overwhelmed by the mob, the security personnel caved in and the DGP hurriedly left for the Raj Bhavan.
At 11.45 a.m.: The security personnel fired over 200 rounds in the air from Palace Gate to Sanjenthong and lobbed more than 50 tear gas shells.

However the unrelenting crowd took it to the Raj Bhavan gate.

On the other hand, the protestors at Uripok and Keisampat who had been till then intercepted by the security personnel at last overpowered the latter and finally converged at the traffic island in front of the southern gate of Raj Bhavan.

The protestors shouted slogans such as "No Extension of Cease-fire in Manipur", "Save Manipur", "Don't Disintegrate Manipur", "MPs and MLAs-Resign Immediately" and "Long Live Manipur".
At 12 o'clock: The protestors stormed the MSCP office at Keisampat and completely burnt down the office.
At 12.20 p.m.: The protestors barged into the Congress Bhavan, office of the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (I), and set it ablaze.

Not only the office but also five vehicles parked inside the campus were also reduced to cinders.

Then the protestors proceeded towards the Assembly secretariat and laid their hands on Speaker Dr S Dhananjay and took him out while the Assembly secretariat was set on fire.

Thereafter, the official residence of the Speaker was set on fire by the protestors.
At 1.30 p.m.: The protestors marched towards the chief minister's bungalow in an attempt to burn down the bungalow even as came a heavy downpour.

The CRPF personnel on guard at the chief minister's bungalow started firing at the protestors from the observatory deck.

Simultaneously, the CRPF personnel on guard at the Raj Bhavan came outside the gate and started firing at the protestors who by then had begun to disperse due to the downpour.

They came out and chased the protestors towards Keisampat, Nupilal Memorial Complex and Johnstone HS School and sprayed bullets on them.

Many among the protestors which included women, children, elderly persons and students were injured in the indiscriminate continuous firing by the CRPF personnel.

Three of the injured were found dead inside the chief minister's office complex.
At around 1.15 p.m.: The injured who were lying on the street were evacuated by the general public to the hospital in security vehicles.
At around 2.30 p.m.: The government announced that indefinite curfew had been imposed in Imphal and Greater Imphal areas with effect from 1 p.m.The deceased identified so far were: advocate Yumnam Nishikanta, 39, of Khagempalli Panthak; Konsam Kameshore, 40, teacher, from Khurai Konsam Leikai; Thoudam Guneshore, 16, XI standard student of Johnstone HS School and resident of Khoijuman Part III Maning Leikai; Sagolsem Abuicha alias Surchandra, 20, of Porompat Thawanthaba; Thokchom Wilson alias Apu, 20, of Nongmeibung; Khoisnam Singhajit; 16, of Singjamei Makha Liwa Road, Bokulmakhong; Kshetrimayum Jiban alias Mocha, 17, of Khurai Konsam Leikai; Thokchom Lalit, 18, of Yaiskul Jammasthan, and Bachaspatimayum Nanaocha, 27, of Elangbam Leikai.

Five others were yet to be identified.
At 3 p.m. : Enraged by the indiscriminate firing by CRPF jawans on cease fire extension protesters, general strike supporters and those whose near and dear ones lost their lives set afire to the residential quarters of five MLAs at Lamphel area at around 3 pm this afternoon.

The agitators first made an abortive attempt to burn the residential quarter of the MSCP (N) MLA Dr L Chandramani but the flames died out without causing any substantial damage to the building.

Later the infuriated protesters set fire to residential quarters of MLAs Songchinkhup, V Hangkhalian, P Achou, Z Mangaibou, Dr Khasim Ruivah.

Gas cylinder explosion rocked the Lamphel area as the flames licked through the kitchen of the residential areas of these MLAs, making the impact of the destruction more severe.

The quarters were badly damaged according to reports.


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SNIPPETS - 19, JUN 2001
SPORTS - 19, JUN 2001
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