Clash over airport land in Manipur

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  • Published 25.08.08

Imphal, Aug. 25: Police today fired teargas shells and exploded stun bombs to clear road blockades put up by villagers protesting against the Manipur government’s move to acquire land for expansion of the Imphal airport.

The Okram Ibobi Singh government had earlier proposed to acquire 466.67 acres of land around the airport for the expansion and had offered to compensate the residents of the five villages to be affected.

However, the villagers of Mongsangei, Malom Tulihal, Malom Tuliyaima, Sangaiprou and Ningombam refused to part with their paddy fields and homes.

Yesterday, when the government published the names of those whose land would be acquired, the villagers decided to block Tiddim Road — of which the Imphal airport road is a stretch — from this morning.

Eyewitnesses said the protesters blocked Tiddim Road at several places at Malom near the airport and damaged passing vehicles. They also burnt effigies of Ibobi Singh at Ningombam and shouted anti-government slogans.

The police rushed to the spot and cleared the road for stranded vehicles by afternoon. However, the block resumed after they left.

The police also picked up five protesters, including the secretary of the joint action committee of the affected villages, Kh. Dijen Singh, from Maol.

No one was injured during the police crackdown.