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Protests over rape, firing

Imphal, April 19: A warlike situation prevailed on a stretch of Imphal-Dimapur highway today over Thursday’s rape of a minor and the death of a protester last night.

A 13-year-old was raped by a 65-year-old contractor, S. Mapuni, also known as Tajmapuni Paomai, on the outskirts of the city on Thursday. The accused was arrested from Senapati district last night.

The rape triggered protests not only in the city but also in Senapati district, from where the girl originally hails. While protests began in the city around noon, in Senapati it started last evening.

Protesters blocked the Imphal-Dimapur highway at Kanglatongbi, 25km from Imphal, in Senapati district. To clear the blockade, police resorted to firing, killing a protester, Tijuk Poudel, 19, and injuring two others.

Poudel died on the way to an Imphal hospital. Bhim Bahadur, 46, and Hemant Thapa, 24, who sustained bullet injuries, are undergoing treatment here. Bahadur’s condition is said to be critical.

The firing and Poudel’s death triggered further protests with protesters blocking a 27km stretch of the highway from Nongthonband in Imphal West to Kangpokpi in Senapati district for the second day today.

Residents of Kanglatongbi today formed a joint action committee to spearhead the agitation.

The commitee has set a deadline of 4pm on Monday for the Okram Ibobi Singh government to fulfil its demands of holding a judicial inquiry into the rape and police firing, compensation for the families of the dead and injured in the police firing and termination of jobs of police personnel involved in the firing.


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