The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Schools set on fire in Manipur

Imphal, July 4: After burning textbooks last year, suspected Naga students in Manipur set schools on fire last night.

At least five government schools across three hill districts went up in flames a little after midnight last night when suspected Naga student activists renewed their bid for affiliation to the Nagaland Board of Secondary Education.

Official sources said the schools were set on fire in Naga-dominated districts of Ukhrul, Senapati and Chandel between 11.30pm and 2am.

No group has claimed responsibility for the arson, but police believe it could be the handiwork of supporters of the All Naga Students Association, Manipur.

The student organisation has long been campaigning for affiliation of private schools in Ukhrul, Tamenglong, Chandel and Senapati to the Nagaland Board of Secondary Education.

The campaign is part of the Naga struggle for unification of all the Naga-inhabited areas under one administrative unit — one of the main demands put forward by the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) before the Centre.

The Senapati district superintendent of police, Nishit K. Ujwal, said one government-aided school located at the district headquarters and another government high school at Tadubi were also burnt.

Two government high schools — one located in the district headquarters and another at Phungyar subdivision of Ukhrul — were extensively damaged.

Ukhrul police said over phone they could save one higher secondary school.

The arsonists also targeted a government high school located at the Chandel district headquarters, but there were no reports of any violence from Tamenglong.

Apprehending more trouble, the police headquarters here has sounded a red alert in the four Naga-dominated hill districts.

The education commissioner, N. Sundarlal Singh, said he had sought reports from the zonal education officers on the arson.

“The government will take the necessary action after receiving the reports,” the commissioner said.

The All Naga Students Union of Manipur launched its affiliation campaign in July last year by burning thousands of school textbooks prescribed by the Board of Secondary Education Manipur in the four districts.

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