Manipur again tense, ‘Meira Paibi’ calls for 48-hour bandh across state

Abhijit Ray:.Violence-ridden Manipur is once again on the boil. After the arrest of five armed youths, there was fresh unrest there. Meitei women’s organisation Meira Paibi has called for a 48-hour state-wide bandh demanding the release of the accused. As a result, the Imphal Valley has been in a state of shock since Tuesday morning.Manipur police said five youths were arrested on Saturday. They were arrested for possessing firearms and military uniforms. Since then, anger has been growing in many parts of the state. The protesters clashed with the police when they went to protest at The Porampat police station.Police fired several rounds of tear gas to control the gathering. Several protesters and RAF personnel were injured. Soon after, five local clubs, including Meira Paibi, called for a 48-hour state-wide bandh demanding the release of the arrested. On Monday, women protested in areas like Imphal East, Imphal West, Khurai, Kongba, Bishnupur and Thaubal. The protests continued by blocking the road.”The five youths who were arrested are volunteers from the village,” said Yumnam Hitler, president of the All Langthabal Centre United Club Coordinating Committee. They work to protect the villagers from kuki-jo militants. The security forces failed to function properly. We want the unconditional release of these youths. Yumnam threatened to intensify the protests if the administration did not release the youths.Meanwhile, the bandh has been affected in the capital Imphal since Tuesday morning. Shops and markets are locked everywhere. The number of traffic on the road is also low. Normal life in Manipur has been in danger due to the Metai-Kuki group violence for the past five months. The common man is suffering immensely. Deaths were reported from the northeastern state last week. An army man from Manipur was killed.