Manipur militants demand money from telecom service providers

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Imphal, Oct.3 (ANI) Telecommunication service providers have closed down services in different areas of the State following extortion demands from militants. The closure of the services has severely affected the life of people in the areas.

Among the areas was Yourabang Khunou where the militants tried to torch an Aircel tower. However, the fire was curbed in time and damage was restricted.

The Aircel towers located at Khurai Leikai were also attacked. A Vodafone tower in Imphal was shut down following similar attempts.

"The closure of the services is hampering the public. The mobile services enabled us to reach remote areas and communicate . If such incidents continue, the service will not be available," said remjit, landowner of Aircel Tower, Imphal

Local people want the militant groups to their threats affect the common man the most.

"If this trend continues, our area will remain backward," said Ramesh, a local resident in Imphal.

"Different mobile service providers like Aircel and Vodafone had started their services in the State. But they find it difficult to continue their service because of demands by militants. It is causing immense difficulty to the people," said Victoria, another resident.

Vodafone service in Manipur state has remained non-operational since the September 16. Its main office located at Palace Compound in Imphal is still closed.

According to Intelligence reports, the PREPAK militant outfit has damaged 17 towers of the Tata Tele-services since August 2009 and had demanded 10-12 lakhs rupees per annum from the Tata Tele- services in Imphal.

People here point out that the extortion demands show that the militants are not guided by any ideology and all that they want is to fill their pockets.

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