Imphal, Sept. 9: The All Naga Students’ Association of Manipur (Ansam) today stepped up its “non-cooperation movement” against the Okram Ibobi Singh government, launching a new phase in the war of attrition in the state’s Naga-dominated districts. The student group has “banned” Manipuri films and the use of the Meitei Mayek script in Ukhrul, Tamenglong, Chandel and Senapati.
In a statement issued late last night, Ansam said the ban on Meitei Mayek script will come into force immediately. The ban on Manipuri audio and video cassettes will be effective from September 17.
Ansam publicity and information secretary S. Khapa said the decision had been influenced by the “imposing and dominant nature” of the state government.
The statement said that following the resolution adopted by the Naga Peoples Convention on November 4, 2005, and the United Naga Council of Manipur on September 6 this year, Ansam had asked all its units and subordinate bodies to implement the ban on Manipuri audio and video compact discs and cassettes. Shops and parlours which do not comply with the restriction will have to face “strict penalty”, the student body said, urging the public to co-operate.
Recently, several schools were vandalised in the four districts in an apparent bid to pressure the state to allow private schools to adopt the Naga syllabus. The government responded by deploying security personnel in educational institutions and offices in Ukhrul.
In an unrelated development, police today resorted to a mild lathicharge to disperse protesters who had gathered in front of the chief minister’s residence, demanding the unconditional release of Threatened Indigenous Peoples’ Society general secretary L. Umakanta and publicity secretary Langamba.
Two persons, S. Helen Singh and Kh. Surchandra Singh, were injured in the lathicharge. A woman, identified as Memcha Devi, fainted in the melee. Some of the protesters were also stationed near Raj Bhavan.
Police personnel on duty at Ibobi Singh’s bungalow intervened, but when they failed to pacify the crowd, reinforcements were called in.
Encounter: In Chandel district, a junior commissioned officer of the 16 Assam Rifles, Dayal Singh, was killed and two jawans injured when suspected UNLF militants ambushed their patrol at Khendo Village near Joupi around 6.40 am today. After a 30-minute gunbattle, the militants fled into the jungle. Search operations are on with additional reinforcement, a report reaching here said.