Manipur bandh evokes partial response

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Imphal, Oct 29 (UNI) A 12-hour bandh called by the All Manipur Inter-State Bus Association registered partial impact today.

The bandh was called to protest the torching of a tourist bus with passengers on board, leading to the death of two people, including a woman, on October 23, at Lahorijan, Assam, by suspected Kuki militants.

All the inter-state bus services continued to be suspended following the killing of the two passengers.

However, the bandh could not dampen the Ningol Chakkouba festival spirit, as people came out in large numbers to buy gifts.

The Khwairamband Keithel, the main market of the city, remained open, despite the bandh. A few shops, however, remained closed.

All government and private offices remained open and all educational institutes also functioned normally.

The bus association alleged that many militant groups, at truce with the government, were involved in extorting money from the transporters of Manipur.

It also alleged of illegal tax collection by security personnel from the passenger bus services carrying people of Manipur to Nagaland, Assam and Meghalaya.

Official sources said Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh had a round of talks with the members of the Association earlier and will convene a meeting later with the security personnel to discuss the security situation on National Highways 39 and 53.

Association's president Buddha Luwang also demanded a judicial enquiry into the incident and provision of ex-gratia to the families of the deceased and injured.

The transporters said due to the suspension of all inter-state passenger bus services, a large number of people were stranded at Assam and Nagaland and were coming to Imphal by hiring private vehicles.

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