Centre asks Manipur govt to check violence

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New Delhi, Mar 19 (UNI) The Centre today directed the Manipur Government to nab the culprits responsible for killing of innocent people in the state and take steps to prevent recurrence of such incidents.

"I strongly condemn the recent killing of innocent people by extremists in Manipur. I convey my condolences to the kin of the deceased and pray for speedy recovery of the injured,'' Home Minister Shivraj Patil said in a statement here.

Describing the killings as acts of cowardice, perpetrated with the intention to disturb social harmony and create panic among people, the Home Minister said the ministry was in touch with the state Government. The Manipur government had been asked to take all steps to nab the culprits, provide security to vulnerable sections and avoid recurrence of such incidents.

''Every citizen of the country has the fundamental right to live in any part of the country. Government of India will provide all possible assistance to the concerned state Governments to effectively deal with the elements which try to infringe this right,'' he said.

Meanwhile, another non-Manipuri was shot dead at Kumbi in Bishenpur district, raising the toll in the spate of violence against outsiders to 15. The aggression against people from outside the state was spreading to all the four valley districts-- Imphal West, Imphal East, Thoubal and now Bishenpur.

On March 17, seven people were gunned down at Imphal West and yesterday five more were shot dead at Imphal East and two at Thoubal district.

A concerned Chief Minister had condemned the killings and assured the people of taking immediate action against the culprits.

Mr O Ibobi Singh said all available forces had been called to maintain vigil and check recurrence of violence.

Police had appealed to the people not to pay heed to rumours and maintain calm. The prohibitory orders would continue to remain in force in all the four districts from dusk to dawn.

UNI AJ JT BST2038

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