| A jawan tries to douse the flames on the feet of one of the five youths in Imphal on Saturday. Picture by Eastern Projections
Imphal, July 24: Five youths attempted self-immolation near the office of Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh here today, flaring sentiments up over the Manorama case even as the mortal remains of the 32-year- old woman were consigned to flames after a second post-mortem on the body.
The five youths, all members of the Manipur Forward Youth Front, were admitted to the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) with 20 to 30 per cent burn injuries. Doctors at the hospital said all of them were out of danger.
The five youths doused petrol and set themselvesablaze, suffering burn injuries on the legs, during the 12-hour curfew relaxation from 4 am. The group was led by the youth front’s organisation secretary, Yambem Viki, a resident of Imphal’s Uripok locality.
Eyewitnesses said the five made the self-immolation bid at the gate of Imphal’s head post office, located just opposite to the chief minister’s office complex. The youths, with fire raging from their bodies, ran to the main gate of the chief minister’s office, breaking the security cordon. Police personnel rushed to douse the flames.
A leader of the youth front, Sapamcha Kangleipal, said they had decided to take the “extreme step” as the Ibobi government had been remaining “insensitive” to the demand for immediate lifting of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and punishment to those responsible for Thangjam Manorama’s death.
A boiling Manipur is seething with anger after the immolation bid. Hundreds of youths clashed with the police at Khurai Lamlong in Imphal East. The protesters’ attempt to take out a rally was foiled by the police personnel, who burst teargas shells and fired rubber bullets. The protesters hurled brickbats at the police for an hour.
Three Manipur University students, including president-elect of the students’ union H. Arsharjit Luwang, were taken into custody after a busload of students tried to demonstrate in front of the Raj Bhavan. The students came in the university bus and suddenly disembarked in front of the gate, shouting slogans.Dharnas were held at different places of the four valley districts while police prevented rallies and sit-in-demonstrations at many places.
The self-immolation bid came immediately after a second post-mortem was conducted on the body of Manorama, who was gunned down by troops of the 17th battalion Assam Rifles after she was picked up from her Bamon Kampu residence here on July 11.
The second autopsy was conducted by a medico-legal expert Dr Th. Manglem Singh, who was assisted by Prof. Momonchand Singh, head of department of forensic department of the RIMS and assistant professor Th. Bijoy Singh of the same institute. The Ibobi Singh government had ordered the second autopsy yesterday on demands from Manorama’s family.
The mortal remains of Manorama were consigned to flames this afternoon amid tight security at the Minuthong crematorium here. The government ordered the cremation after the family refused to accept the body. A team of ministers and legislators on Thursday visited the family to persuade it to take back the body. The family refused, insisting that the culprits be punished and the “black law” repealed without delay.