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Bandh against Malue’s murder

Imphal, July 16: Naga-inhabited areas in the Manipur hills remained shut today in the wake of a strike called by the United Naga Council (UNC).

The strike was called over the arrest of eight persons and imposition of prohibitory orders in Ukhrul town following the killing of Ngalangzar Malue, 65, a member of Ukhrul Autonomus District Council in an ambush on Saturday. The incident took place at Finch corner, 20km from Ukhrul town, along the Imphal-Ukhrul road. The Okram Ibobi Singh government has blamed the NSCN (I-M) for the ambush.

The state government rushed more than 500 additional police commandos and India Reserve Battalion personnel to Ukhrul for search operations and eight persons were arrested a day after the ambush.

Home minister Gaikhangam said the eight persons were cadres of the NSCN (I-M) and they were arrested with bombs and ammunition from an office of the Naga militant group, located in Ukhrul town.

To prevent public uproar against the police raids, the district administration imposed prohibitory orders since 7am on Sunday in and around Ukhrul town.

Terming the deployment of police commando and India Reserve Battalion personnel in Ukhrul town a show of “military might” by the Ibobi Singh government, the UNC, the apex body of the Naga community in Manipur, called a 24-hour strike in all Naga-inhabited areas of the state since midnight.

UNC and other Naga organisations are demanding withdrawal of the prohibitory orders and the additional police commandos and IRB personnel, besides release of the arrested persons.

Normal life was affected in the four hill districts dominated by the Nagas — Ukhrul, Chandel, Tamenglong and Senapati — because of the strike. Shops and government offices in the districts’ headquarters remained closed.

There was no report of any untoward incident in any part of the strike-affected areas.

Kh. Chandramani Singh, deputy inspector-general of police who is heading the additional force in Ukhrul town, said the situation in the district was under control. “We are trying to restore normalcy in (Ukhrul) town,” Chandramani Singh said.

The state forces remained on alert in Ukhrul town to prevent any unwanted development during the strike.