Manipur activists strive to restore communal harmony

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Imphal, April 13: Several social organisations are striving for the restoration of communal harmony in the wake of clashes and attacks in some parts of Manipur's Imphal west and Thoubal districts.

The present friction was triggered by the lynching of two youths and life changing injuries to a third boy at Iram Siphai on April 7 on the charge that the trio had allegedly lifted a two wheeler.

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The activists, who are quarterbacking the agitations including road blockades, said, "They were students who had gone to a garden. Even if they had lifted the two wheeler the best thing to do was to hand them over to police. There was no need to attack them in that brutal manner".

In the follow up agitations, over 50 persons were injured, mostly with bullets, nine houses and shops were gutted. Though the road blockade was suspended, some anti-social elements were having a field day for their personal gains.

At this juncture, the moral police of the Muslim elders, the Anjuman, has come out to bring the anti social elements to justice. On the other hand, the coordinating committee (corcom), the apex body of six proscribed underground organisations, has strongly condemned the clashes.

"The clashes between the two communities are plans to divide and rule among the communities who have been living in peace and harmony," corcom said ina a statement.

It exhorted the people to be alert since a wedge is being driven among the communities. It also strongly condemned the clashes and other incidents.

Meanwhile, three anti-social youths have surrendered to the Anjuman. As the road blockade had been suspended, three rice traders including two women were taking one jeepload of rice from Ushangkhong in Thoubal district to Motbung in Senapati district on Tuesday morning.

Three youths intercepted and whisked them away. Charging them with violating the blockade they beat up the traders with iron rods and threatened to slit their throats with two kitchen knives. One woman suffered fractured hand. They blindfolded, trussed and left them in a paddy field.

The youths -- identified as Mohammad Mousha, Mohammad Tomba and Mohammad Saddam -- fled after looting cash, valuables, two mobile handsets and gold ornaments. However, all of them surrendered to the Anjuman since it is a very influential organisation enjoying support of the Muslim community.

The Anjuman activists also appealed to one and all to help check anti-social activities. They are of the view that the unprovoked firing at the women vigilantes at Nungrei injuring 14 persons will only cause communal tension.

Meanwhile, there is no report of arresting anyone relating to the lynching of the youths. The demand of the Joint Action Committee is that about six persons named in the memorandum should be booked.

If the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi who had assured of actions backs out of his commitment agitations including the road blockade may be resumed from Thursday.

Indefinite curfew is still on and there was no report of untoward incident. Heavily armed policemen and women in riot gears continue to patrol the trouble prone areas.

IANS

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