Tight security measures for Diwali celebrations in Manipur

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Imphal, Oct 28 (UNI) Security has beefed up in the state capital to prevent any untoward incident during the Diwali celebrations today.

The entire market area Khwairamband Keithel was completely sealed off with police stopping entry of all vehicles. Only pedestrians were allowed inside the main market areas of Imphal.

To stop suspected militants from disrupting the celebrations mass combing operations were conducted in several parts of the city by police.

Large number of youths were detained and their identities checked. Their mobile phones were also thoroughly examined and those having SIM in some other person's name were detained and the SIM seized.

SSP, Imphal West, L Kailun said no vehicles were allowed in the market areas considering the threat perception, adding that the restrictions will be imposed only for sometime.

Militants had lobbed a bomb at the residence of Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh twice recently and on October 21, cadres of Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) Military Council (MC) had triggered a powerful blast at Ragailong, Imphal East, in which 17 persons died.

The Babupara VIP complex, Imphal, was also completely sealed off with police verifying the identities of every individual seeking permission to enter the premises.

Barricades were also constructed in front of the Chief Minister's official residence.

Meanwhile, despite the threat perception and security measures taken up, large numbers of people thronged the markets to purchase gifts and sweets and the shops were glittering with lights and decorations.

However, the district administration has banned sale and use of crackers considering the law and order situation.

Prohibitory orders, restricting assembly of five or more persons, have been imposed in the city areas by the district administration.

Governor Gurbachan Jagat, in his greetings on the occasion of Diwali, said, ''Let the lights of Diwali eliminate enmity, mistrust, bickering, conflict and disunity among all people of our state.

''I join the people of Manipur in the celebration of this happy and joyous festival and pray that Diwali may herald in a new era of peace, harmony and prosperity in this state,'' he said.

The Chief Minister said, ''Let us celebrate this festival in its true spirit with care and concern for others.'' UNI NS DPM RD 1415

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