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Rebel threat shuts schools

Imphal, Aug. 8: All private schools in Manipur’s Churachandpur district were indefinitely closed by school authorities from today following monetary demands from some militant groups.

The decision to shut down the schools, numbering 52, was taken during a meeting of Churchandpur District Private Schools Association in protest against “monetary demands and threats imposed by certain groups,” a statement issued by the association said.

The association, however, neither disclosed the name of the groups that served monetary demand notes nor the amounts demanded by them, apparently fearing reprisal.

“The association is compelled to take this painful decision as it has become increasingly impossible to run the schools and effectively impart education under the prevailing disruptive circumstances,” the statement said.

Several militant groups are based in this district, which shares its borders with Myanmar. A majority of the groups have suspension of operations agreement with the Centre and the state government and their cadres stay in designated camps.

However, some militant groups, which are outside the suspension of operations agreement, are operating in the district, sources said.

The association appealed to the authorities concerned and the public to help restore conducive academic atmosphere in the district.

The district police swung into action today following the report of the closure of the private schools. “We are investigating the matter and will have a clear picture of the development very soon,” Churachandpur superintendent of police K. Kabib said.

The development has caused serious concern to parents. “It is unfortunate that the academic atmosphere has been disturbed and the schools have been closed. We wish early reopening of the schools,” a parent said.