Imphal, Dec. 2: Tension mounted in Thoubal town after a protester, who was wounded in police firing last night, died of his injuries at an Imphal hospital this morning.
The police yesterday fired several rounds to disperse a group of agitators blocking the Imphal-Moreh highway in town to protest the killing of a shopkeeper by unidentified persons on Friday morning.
A bullet hit Huirongbam Manichandra Singh, 58, in the chest during the police firing. The injured was taken to Shija Hospitals in Imphal but he died around 11am today.
Residents of Thoubal town were on the warpath since Friday morning after a shopkeeper, Y. Naoba, 30, was found shot dead on the outskirts of Thoubal town.
A 9mm pistol was found near the body.
Residents of the town and traders formed a joint action committee, downed shutters and blocked the Imphal-Moreh highway since Friday demanding the arrest of the culprits. The protesters also burnt tyres along the highway.
The committee suspects the involvement of police personnel in Naoba’s death. Relatives said a few days before Naoba was found murdered, a police commando had called him repeatedly on his cell phone.
After a series of talks yesterday between a delegation of the action committee and chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and senior district police and civil authorities failed to arrive at any agreement, the police swung into action to clear the roadblock, leading to the firing. Thoubal town falls under Ibobi Singh’s constituency in Thoubal district.
After the police firing wounded the protester, Ibobi Singh this morning sent his wife, MLA Landhoni Devi, along with education minister Moirangthem Okendra Singh, to pacify the agitators.
“The education minister and Landhoni Devi came this morning to meet the protesters. The action committee told them to institute a judicial inquiry,” a protester said.
Landhoni urged the action committee to submit a written representation to the chief minister listing their demands. The roadblock continued today and a sit-in was also held. The police said the situation was tense, but under control. There was no report of further trouble today.
In another incident, a joint team of the police and Assam Rifles recovered two carbines, two hand grenades, six landmine bombs and assorted ammunition during a search operation at Urang Chiru village in Imphal East yesterday, the police said today.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC were promulgated in Thoubal district from 11am today to prevent further trouble.