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Manipur beefs up security

- UNC ‘bans’ projects

Imphal, Aug. 2: The Okram Ibobi Singh government strengthened security measures at project sites, particularly national ones, in view of the “ban” imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) on such projects in Manipur.

The UNC, the apex body of the Nagas in Manipur, imposed a “ban” on all national projects in Naga-inhabited areas for 10 days beginning yesterday, seeking intervention of the Centre to what it termed “militarisation of Ukhrul district by the Okram Ibobi Singh government”.

The UNC and other Naga citizen organisations have been agitating since July 13 against deployment of nearly 500 police commandos and India Reserve Battalion personnel and also imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC in Ukhrul town.

The police arrested eight cadres of the NSCN (I-M) from Ukhrul town on July 13, a day after the killing of a member of Ukhrul Autonomous District Council, Ngalangzar Malue, 65, in an ambush, allegedly by cadres of the Naga outfit.

To prevent public protest against the arrests, the district administration promulgated prohibitory orders indefinitely since 7am on July 13.

The UNC announced its “ban” on all national projects like railway line construction and construction related to power grid lines for 10 days, demanding withdrawal of the commandos and IRB as well as the prohibitory orders.

The Naga citizen’s body called the “ban” after a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking intervention by the Centre to the situation in Ukhrul town failed to evoke any response from the Centre.

“The chief minister instructed district police to provide security to the project sites so that no disturbance is given to the ongoing works by supporters of the UNC ban and security measures are already in place at the sites accordingly,” an official source said. The chief minister has requested the army and Assam Rifles to keep vigil around the project sites to prevent disruptive activities.

There was no report of any untoward development on the second day of the ban.

In a related development, Presidential Council of the UNC today reviewed the situation in Ukhrul town and other Naga-inhabited areas.

The meeting concluded that deployment of police commandos and IRB personnel in Ukhrul town in the name of maintaining law and order was an attempt to derail the Centre-NSCN (I-M) peace talks.


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