Imphal, Sept. 25: A bristling and impatient Heirok slipped into a uneasy calm today, a day after three villagers were shot at by a militant while returning from a protest trip to Imphal.
“It is just the lull before the storm,” said a villager today, as leaders of the joint action committee went into a huddle to discuss the next course of action.
“We have not taken any decision yet. We are discussing various options at hand. But we are unanimous that the people are at the end of their tether,” a committee leader said after the meeting.
Most of the villagers stayed indoors with no public meeting scheduled for the day.
“The villagers are in a state of siege. We do not know what to do. The government has failed to protect us. How long can we stay like this?” a villager asked.
The United National Liberation Front and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup imposed restrictions on the movement of Heirok villagers.
after they accepted a government’s proposal to recruit special police officers from among the village youths.
UNLF rebels, in fact, shot at an Imphal medicine store-owner, Laishram Sachikumar Singh, on September 15, for disregarding their “order” to return “home” in Heirok.
Nearly 15,000 villagers yesterday swamped the streets to Imphal shouting slogans against the diktat that had forced at least 50 of those living outside the village to return.
In the evening, when the convoy of 150 vehicles carrying the protesters back reached Singjamei area in Imphal West, an unidentified man a fired a few rounds, injuring two women and a man.
The three are now undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Imphal city. Doctors said they were out of danger.
No group has still claimed responsibility for yesterday’s attack.
An official source said patrolling has been intensified around Heirok and security tightened along Imphal-Thoubal to pre-empt attacks on villagers choosing to travel.