| A closed cinema in Imphal. Picture by Eastern Projections |
Imphal, Nov. 30: A grenade hurled by militants at a CRPF convoy missed the target but injured a civilian at Bijoygovinda in Imphal West around noon today as the Manipur film fraternity suspended work for the third time against the July 23 firing.
Police said the hand grenade exploded minutes after a CRPF convoy crossed the area along Sagolband Road around 11.50am today. The grenade exploded in front of a shop, but the security convoy sped away.
A resident of the area, Laishram Premjit, 35, was hit by splinters on his left hand. The police said the injuries were not serious. Police teams rushed to the spot immediately after the blast to investigate and launched a search operation. No arrests were made.
In another incident, passersby found an unexploded hand grenade in front of a shop at Khongjom in Thoubal district this morning. The police, who were informed of the recovery, safely removed the grenade from the area and exploded it at a secluded spot.
Shopkeepers told the police they did not know how the grenade landed there. The police, however, suspect that militants could have left the gre-nade there to frighten a shopkeeper into parting with cash.
The film fraternity, under the banner of Film Forum, Manipur, decided to suspend all activities in response to the appeal by three student groups to do so. All cinema halls across the state, including those in Imphal, were closed and shooting, editing, recording of songs and dubbing were suspended, the forum’s sources said.
“Responding to an appeal by the three student bodies, we decided to suspend all film activities from today, including suspension of screening of films in movie houses. We will not be doing any film-related activities for one week in support of the campaign by the student bodies and also demanding a solution to the ongoing agitation,” said R.K. Chandrakumar Singh, general secretary of the film forum.
This is the third time the film community has joined the protest against the July 23 firing in which passerby Rabina Devi and former militant Ch. Sanjit were killed in an alleged fake encounter by police commandos in Imphal city. Screening of films was suspended from September 15 to 16 and again from October 2 to 8.
The protest by the film community came as a four-member ministerial team appointed by Ibobi Singh was preparing to hold a second round of negotiation with Apunba Lup. The first round of meetings in October ended in a stalemate.
Though the demands raised by Apunba Lup during the first round of meeting were not made public, sources said one of those was transfer of director-general of police Yumnam Joykumar Singh.
The Senior Citizens for Society has been mediating between the Apunba Lup and the government. Sources said representatives of the Apunba Lup and the senior citizens’ organisation would meet the ministerial team soon.
The team include irrigation and flood control minister N. Biren Singh, works minister K. Singh, education minister L. Jayentakumar Singh and planning and development authority chairman Loken Singh.
The Manipur government is desperately trying to persuade the protesters to end the ongoing class boycott as the chief minister was facing mounting pressure both from the parents and the Centre to reopen the schools.
Educational institutions have been closed since September 9 after the All Manipur Students’ Union, Manipuri Students’ Federation and Kangleipak Students’ Union called the class boycott campaign.