Dry fish traders in Manipur protest militants' demands

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Imphal, May 26 (ANI): Dry fish traders in Manipur have been hit badly by the militants' illogical extortion demands.

Militant outfits like Naga National Council (NNC), United National Liberation Front (UNLF), Kanglei Yawol Kunna Lup (KYKL), People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) and Kangleipak Communist Party-Military Council (KCP (MC)) have demanded rupees 800,000 as annual tax from dry fish traders.

Perturbed with such a strange demand, in a news conference at the Manipur Press Club here the traders informed media persons about the issue and appealed to the militants to withdraw their demands.

"There is no assurance whether the vehicles transporting dry fish will reach us or not. We are really concerned about their safety. Once, the vehicle leaves, we are not able to concentrate on any other work. We fear that they might be captured and we will get threatening calls to pay up. If we don't make the payments the they burn down the vehicles and incidents are increasing," said O. Indrajit Singh, Dry fish Trader in Imphal.

"Such demands would lead to a price hike and it will actually affect the public," said O. Indramani Singh, another dry fish Trader, Imphal.

Dry fish traders, as a mark of protest, closed down their shops and suspended distribution of fish to the retailers to draw everyone's attention towards extortion demands.

The market will remain closed till an amicable solution is reached with the militant groups.

The traders informed that the extortion demands by militants will force the them to hike the price of the most sought after food of the Manipuris, the fermented fish. This, in turn, would cause great hardship to the people.

"Militants should review their demands. Because of their actions people are angry and complaining against their activities. The prices are really going high. This is because of their activities. Individually, we cannot do anyting. But if all of us get together. We can fight such them," said W. Deven Singh, a consumer.

The State police commandos have taken up combing operations at the Paona Bazaar area to prevent violenceby militants.

"The combing operation in the market area has been quite successful. In the recent past. We have been able to arrest those who had come to deliver demand letters and those carrying weapons in the market area," said H. Devendra Singh, a police inspector in Imphal West.

Moreover, a protest demonstration was also taken out by the dry fish traders to express their anger against militants, as they have disrupted normal life in the state and affected its economy. (ANI)

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