Manipur turns violent on Monika issue

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Imphal, Aug 19: Dropping of weightlifter Laishram Monika from the Beijing games at fag end on alleged drug charges crippled Manipur today as a strike was called to protest ''unceremonious'' expulsion from squad.

The weighlifter, who was dropped from the squad on a controversial dope report, arrived here on Sunday. People burnt tyres, blocked streets and shouted slogans against Indian Olympic Committee officials' ''highhandedness'' on a sportsperson.The bandh that began at 0500 hours, called by the Co-ordinating Committee against Monika's withdrawal from Beijing Olympics, was spontaneous as all the educational institutes and business establishments were closed.

Monika said sports should be free from politics as years of hard work could be spoiled by ''bad politics''.

The Co-ordinating Committee had on August 11 demanded a public apology from the government on the issue by yesterday and since no communications came it was decided to go ahead with a general strike tomorrow.

Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs&Sports M S Gill had discussion about Laishram Monika Devi's dope test issue, with all concerned and had met the weightlifter also.

Mr Gill had ordered for an inquiry into the whole episode and submit report to the government at the earliest.

''I have discussed all aspects of this unfortunate incident and have decided to appoint an immediate inquiry under T S Krishnamurthy, retired Chief Election Commissioner of India to go into all aspects of this matter immediately so as to bring out the precise truth.

I have requested him to come to Delhi at the earliest to hold this inquiry and to favour me with his report and recommendations at the earliest''.

UNI

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