Sunday, July 22, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

8 on indefinite fast in Manipur

Imphal, July 21
Eight persons began an indefinite fast last evening to protest against the torture of students and Centre-NSCN (I-M) ceasefire extension in Manipur even as massive anti-ceasefire rallies and sit-in protests were reported today amid tight security, official sources said.

Sources said two organisations, the Manipur Protection Committee and the Youths Club Brahmapur, are organising the fast on Thumbuthong bridge on the Imphal river here under the guidance of the United Committee Manipur (UCM), which is spearheading the anti-truce stir.

Thousands of Manipur youths came out on the streets of Imphal, forcing the security forces to resort to firing tear gas shells on Friday.
 Thousands of Manipur youths came out on the streets of Imphal, forcing the security forces to resort to firing tear gas shells on Friday. — PTI photo

In the first phase, eight persons began the fast from 6 p.m. yesterday, UCM sources said, adding that if they were arrested others would take their place and continue the fast.

Meanwhile, the curfew, which was reimposed yesterday in the state capital following student protests against the extension of the Naga ceasefire, continued for the second day today, but failed to contain the popular uprising in other parts of the state.

The agitating students stranded around Khwairamb and bazar area and Uripok following the sudden imposition of curfew yesterday were shifted today with the help of non-governmental organisations.

Armoured police vehicles fitted with loudspeakers warned the people not to move out of their houses. Mobile police parties were patrolling the streets.

Reports of rallies and sit-in demonstrations were received from the two valley districts of Thoubal and Bishnupur.

At Pallel, a strategic place for both hill and plain areas, a rally was organised by the local people, comprising various communities, against the extension of ceasefire. However, there was no report of any untoward incident.

The security has been tightened in view of the cremation of the person who succumbed to his injury in yesterday’s police firing. The body will be cremated at Keikrupat, where 15 others were cremated earlier.

Meanwhile, the All-Manipur Students Union said they would continue to surrender text books in protest against the ceasefire extension.

Army and paramilitary forces were deployed today at vulnerable places here and an Army helicopter kept aerial vigil as tension mounted following yesterday’s CRPF firing and police action.

Army and paramilitary forces also staged a flag march at important places in Imphal and surrounding areas.

With one more person dying at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital last night, the toll in the agitation against the ceasefire extension rose to 16.

The UCM criticised the Governor for allowing a meeting to be held by people from Nagaland at Senapati in Manipur while at the same time clamping curfew on Imphal.

The UCM, today demanded resignations of Governor Ved Marwah and Union Minister of State for Food Processing Th. Chaoba Singh on the ceasefire extension issue.

Mr Marwah should no longer stay in Manipur after yesterday’s incident, UCM said in a statement.

The UCM, which met the Union Home Minister in New Delhi yesterday to press for the withdrawal of truce from the state’s territory, said the stir would continue till the demands were met.

Meanwhile, the People’s Forum, comprising members from both pro and anti-cease-fire lobbies, has denied television reports of a “mass exodus” of Naga people from the Manipur valley to Nagaland.

It said some people voluntarily left their rented houses and government quarters, but that could not be termed “mass exodus”.

The UCM has also denied the report of “mass exodus” of Nagas from Manipur and termed it an “exaggeration”.

ITANAGAR: The anti-ceasefire extension protest wave has reached Arunachal Pradesh with different organisations taking out marches in protest against the truce extension, official sources said on Saturday.

Thousands of people, including a large number of women, took out an anti-ceasefire extension rally at Khonsa in Tirap district on July 19 calling for peace and development, they said quoting delayed reports reaching here. PTI, UNI


6 CRPF jawans killed in Arunachal

Itanagar, July 21
In the worst ceasefire violation in a year, suspected Naga militants killed six paramilitary jawans and seriously injured six others in an ambush in Arunachal Pradesh, a senior police official said today. Security officials blame the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) Muivah-Issac faction for the attack.

According to Yudhbir Singh Dadwal, Arunachal Pradesh’s Inspector General of Police, six CRPF men were killed at Pongkongh village in Khonsa district near the border with Myanmar yesterday afternoon. The area is a part of a “greater Nagaland” claimed by the NSCN faction.

Mr Dadwal added that the militants fired shots and threw hand grenades from hills at a passing security convoy. One of the four vehicles in the convoy caught fire and the men inside were “charred beyond recognition”. The injured jawans were admitted to a military hospital.

About 50 paramilitary troops were travelling in the convoy when it was attacked, an intelligence officer was quoted as saying. A search has been undertaken to catch the rebels.

The latest attack comes in the wake of the Centre’s decision to extend the four-year-old ceasefire with the NSCN, the largest rebelgroup in the region, by another year. The truce was also widened from Nagaland to neighbouring states inhabited by the Naga people. ANI

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