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Arson rerun in Manipur

Imphal, Feb. 6: Imphal East district of Manipur continued to burn over the killing of a grocery shop owner by police in an alleged fake encounter with protesters today torching another government building on the second day of the 'non-cooperation' movement, launched by a joint action committee.

Provoked by the cremation of the body of Leitanthem Boy alias Premanda by the government as an 'unclaimed' body last night, protesters, mostly members of the action committee, set on fire a veterinary dispensary office at Thambalkhong village under Porompat police station this afternoon.

Boy was killed in an 'encounter' on January 30. His body was cremated after the family refused to accept it from the mortuary of the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences. Both Boy's family and the action committee said the encounter was faked.

On learning that the body was cremated last night, the mob stormed the veterinary dispensary at 2.40 pm and set it ablaze. However, local residents put off the fire. Major portions of the building were damaged, witnesses said. With this, the number of government offices burnt by protesters since Saturday has gone up to four.

Last night, the environment and ecology wing of the forest department was torched. The police, who burst teargas shells to disperse the mob, doused the blaze. But two computer sets were damaged.

The protesters are demanding that the policemen involved in the youth's killing be punished and return the Rs 85,000 they had allegedly robbed from the dead man.

Security in and around the government offices in Imphal East district has been strengthened after the arson. An official source said armed guards have been provided at important government offices while patrolling by armed police personnel has been intensified.

In an unrelated incident, a bomb planted by unidentified persons inside the office complex of the Manipur State Apex Housing Cooperative Society Ltd at Chingmeirong of Imphal East district was exploded by police bomb experts this morning.

The police, quoting witnesses, said two unidentified persons in a Maruti Gypsy planted a hand grenade at the door of one of the rooms of the technical and promotion cell of the cooperative society. Bomb experts tried to remove the grenade, but could not do so. They finally exploded the grenade at the door itself. Some portions of the door were damaged in the explosion.

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