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Students chalk out agitation

Imphal, April 30: A day after cities and towns rose as one to seek justice for Manipuri student Richard Loitam, students’ organisations in the state today chalked out a course of action to demand punishment for the culprits.

The students’ organisations announced their agitation even as chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh today said he was constantly in touch with his Karnataka counterpart D.V. Sadananda Gowda and other government authorities to have a proper investigation and book the culprits.

“I have written to my counterpart in Karnataka. We are putting pressure on the Karnataka government to book the culprits,” Ibobi Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function here today. Ibobi Singh termed the incident “very unfortunate”. Six student organisations of Manipur — Kangleipak Students’ Association, All Manipur Students’ Union, Manipuri Students’ Federation, Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur, Students’ Union of Kangleipak and Students’ Welfare Association of Kangleipak — today announced their agitation beginning from May 4 to protest against the failure of the Karnataka government to arrest the “culprits” behind Richard’s death and demanding intervention by the Manipur government.

The agitation includea sit-in protest on May 4, formation of a human chain on May 5, rallies on May 7 in the twin districts of Imphal East and West and closure of government offices on May 8.

Richard, 19, from Imphal was found dead under mysterious circumstances on April 18 in his hostel room at the Acharya NRV School of Architecture in Madanayakanahalli, 30km from Bangalore. Two students — Vishal Banerjee from Chhattisgarh and Sayed Afsal Ali from Jharkhand — assaulted Richard the previous night, according to the hostel warden. The institute director (placements), Bhooshan C.B.M. reportedly announced the suspension of two students from the hostel, but did not give any names. The students were not, however, suspended from the institute.

Yesterday, demonstrations were held in cities of the country, including Bangalore and Imphal seeking justice in the case. Announcing the course of agitation, All Manipur Students’ Union president Suresh Thokchom said the students’ bodies decided to launch the agitation in protest against the failure of Karnataka government to book the culprits and also “inaction” by the Manipur government.The student organisations are also protesting the alleged abduction of Rahul Takhellambam, a student of Don Bosco School, Imphal,by unknown persons on April 21. The school said the student was freed at Chandel by abductors today and the school authorities went to Chandel to bring him back to Imphal.


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