Curfew relaxed in Manipur’s riot-hit district

Imphal, Sep 4 (IANS) Curfew was relaxed on Friday in riot-hit areas of Manipur’s Churachandpur district to enable resident to buy essential commodities, an official said.

“The curfew was relaxed for eight hours from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m this afternoon so that people could buy essential commodities,” Churachandpur District Magistrate Lunminthang Haokip told IANS.

“As of now, there has been no report of fresh violence but we are keeping a close watch on the situation,” he said.

However, internet services continued to remain suspended to prevent the spread of rumours.

The curfew has been imposed since Monday night after a mob went on rampage, and set on fire the residence of Congress legislators, including that of the Health and Family Welfare Minister Phungzathang Tonsing and Outer Manipur Lok Sabha member Thangsoi Baite.

They were protesting against the passage of three bills by the state assembly.

Tribal civil society groups — All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM), Kuki Students Organisation (KSO) and All Naga Students Association Manipur (ANSAM) — opposed the introduction of the bills, saying they overlapped with article 371C of the constitution and some points in the Manipur Hill People Administration Regulation Act, 1947, meant to safeguard the interest of tribesmen in the hill areas of Manipur.

Educational institutions and government establishments besides shops in the district remained closed.

The death toll has risen to eight with one more person succumbed to his injuries on Thursday in the mob violence.

Churachandpur-based civil society groups under the banner of Joint Action Committee (JAC) demanded from the Manipur government to repeal the three bills passed or accommodate a clause stating that the bills will not apply in the hills and provide special provisions for the tribal including protection of the tribal and their lands.

The JAC also demanded for setting up an independent judicial headed by a judge of a high court to probe into the incident leading to the death of eight people besides payment of ex-gratia to the family of those killed and injured in the violence.

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