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Wheel jam to protest rebel ‘tax’

Imphal, Feb. 26: Transporters today suspended services along the Imphal-Jiribam highway and the Imphal-Moreh sector of National Highway 39 to protest against extortion by various militant groups.

Transporters who ply along the Imphal-Jiribam and Imphal-Tamenglong routes called an indefinite bandh today under the banner of the Joint Action Committee of Imphal-Jiribam Tata Sumo Services.

They also staged a sit-in at Wahengbam Leikai parking lot today and put up placards reading “Make NH-53 a free zone” and “No unbearable demand on transporters”, at the venue.

No buses plied between Imphal and Jiribam and between Imphal and Tamenglong district headquarters as a result of the strike, though the bus operators are not members of this committee.

The transporters claimed that they had received extortion demands from many militant groups. “We have always tried to pay them, but the unending demands from various groups make it unbearable for us,” said a transporter at the demonstration.

The members of the Indo-Burma Road Joint Transporters’ Union also suspended services indefinitely along the Imphal-Moreh, Imphal-Thoubal and Imphal-Yairipok roads today.

The convenor of the union, A. Priyokumar, said both militants and police personnel were harassing the transporters along the Imphal-Moreh route of National Highway 39.

The police picked up three drivers a few days ago on charges of collecting money from the transporters to pay the militants.

The members of the union are planning to hold a sit-in demonstration in Imphal on Wednesday to highlight their grievances.

Students’ protest

The students of Manipur University held a sit-in at Kanchipur in Imphal West today against the alleged intervention of militants in the entrance examination for PhD candidates.

The meira paibis of Pechu also protested against a bomb threat to the finance official of the university, Sapam Shyamjai.

Unidentified persons left one hand grenade at the residence of the official this morning.

Police exploded the grenade safely.

The residents of Singhjamei in Imphal West also staged a demonstration against the bomb attack on the residence of Congress MLA Irengbam Hemochandra Singh on Sunday night.

Militants hurled a grenade in the courtyard of the MLA from Singjamei, but no one was injured.

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