M A I N   N E W S

7 non-Manipuris shot
Toll in attacks since Monday night mounts to 14

Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, March 18
Seven migrant labourers were shot dead and four injured by militants in Manipur today as the toll of people killed in stepped-up violence in the state since last night rose to 14.

Militants shot dead three non-Manipuris labourers at Takhel, one each at Keibi and Kangla Siphai in Imphal East district and Sekmaijin and Konuma in Thoubal district, officials said.

At Keibi, the militants herded five labourers to a spot and opened fire killing one and injuring four. The killings came close on the heels of the gunning down of seven non-Manipuris at Mayang Imphal in Imphal West district last night.

The defence officials informed that identity of those killed today was yet to be ascertained as their faces had been badly mutilated by killers.

“Monday’s incidents occurred in broad daylight even as the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh was presiding over a high-level security review meeting in Imphal in the wake of killing of seven Hindi-speaking persons by militants the previous night,” the official said.

Unidentified militants had earlier killed seven Hindi-speaking persons at Mayang Imphal Hanglun in Imphal West district on Monday night. In a brutal act of violence, the armed militants, who came in a vehicle, first blind-folded the victims and then tied their hands behind their backs before shooting them from a close range in heads and faces. The victims were earning their livelihood by selling tobacco products.

Several militant groups in Manipur, including the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) and Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF), had imposed a ban on Hindi movies and sale of tobacco products in Manipur. The defence officials said the needle of suspicion was pointing at the banned UNLF.

“In fact, a subtle but intense campaign has been going on for quite sometime to drive non-Manipuri traders and manual labourers out of the state. Already a large number of panic-stricken non-Manipuris have sold their business and property at throwaway prices and are all set to leave the state. Most of these people have been living in the state since pre-Independence days,” Colonel Mishra said.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister today condemned the brutal killing of non-Manipuri persons and instructed the district police officials in the state to mount vigil in areas inhabited by non-Manipuri settlers.

After reviewing the security scene with senior officials today, the Chief Minister ordered setting up of over 40-42 security check posts in and around Imphal to check the movement of militants.

The victims had bits of paper stuck to their backs reading ‘Go back to your state’, sources said.

Condemning the slayings, Chief Minister said financial help would be provided to the relatives of those killed and to the injured.



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