At least 22 cars, buses and other vehicles were torched in some places in Manipur's Imphal East district on Sunday by residents protesting against the Naga economic blockade even as curfew was imposed there after a militant attack. However, the arsonists did not target the vehicle drivers and passengers. As fire tenders could not reach the spot, the vehicles could not be salvaged.
In wake of the attack, heavily-armed police and paramilitary personnel were patrolling the trouble-prone areas after dispersing the unruly mob by firing tear gas canisters.
Expressing the people's resentment against the blockade, activist A. Rajen said: "Since the central government is pampering the United Naga Council (UNC) and the militant outfit underpinning it, the situation is getting worse day by day. The centre is a silent spectator to the indefinite economic blockade imposed against Manipur since November 1." Women who called the 24-hour general strike had threatened with more agitations after they ended it on Saturday night.
In Sagolband area of Imphal West district, women stopped and set alight several items including consumer goods which were being transported to the tribal areas. Nirmala, a housewife, said: "No consumer item is available in the market. Baby foods, life saving medicines, chicken, fish, eggs had vanished. We are resorting to counter blockade against some tribal areas since they should also suffer like us."
Meanwhile, curfew was imposed in a stretch of Imphal East earlier on Sunday after tribal militants opened fire in Bongyang village along the Imphal-Ukhrul road. Since most of the villagers were inside the church for Sunday prayers, there was no casualty. IANS