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Communal flare-up feared in tense Manipur

By Ians

Imphal, Dec 1: Intelligence sources have hinted at a possible communal flare-up as a spillover of the blockade and counter-blockade that has affected Manipur since November 1, officials said on Thursday.

The United Naga Council (UNC) called for an indefinite economic blockade in Manipur as it believes the government is going ahead with the creation of two districts -- Jiribam and Sadar Hills -- to be carved out of Imphal East and Senapati districts respectively.


Since 1971, the Naga groups have been opposing the creation of the proposed districts, saying "lands of the Nagas" would be included there.

During the blockade, the UNC activists set afire two trucks, two government offices in Tamenglong district and damaged several trucks which were being escorted towards state capital Imphal by armed personnel.

There were perfunctory counter blockades as well.

However, the counter blockade took an ugly turn since Wednesday with torching of various items.

S. Ibmecha, a woman activist, told IANS they were compelled to take such extreme steps.

She said: "There are many communities in Manipur and the blockade has hit the people hard and the Nagas are also sufferers. As a first step, we are destroying the items being transported to the Naga areas."

"They had burned trucks and destroyed consumer items. If they do not stop it we will also show that there will be befitting retaliation," she said.

An official told IANS the developments are worrisome. "The state government has been in touch with the centre requesting intervention by prevailing upon the NSCN-IM to restrain its frontal organisations," he said.

"The situation is fast getting out of control", he warned.

Manipur had witnessed communal flare-ups in the past. On May 3, 1993, at least 102 innocent people including children and women were killed.


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