Irate villagers torch designated camp in Manipur

Imphal, April 9 (IANS) A designated camp was set on fire around midnight Friday allegedly by irate residents of Napet and nearby villages here ahead of a folk dance which was to be performed here on the occasion of the Manipuri new year on Saturday.

The camp was located under the Lamlai police station in Imphal east district.

Inmates of the camp who ran away for their own safety are yet to be accounted for.

Villagers told reporters on Saturday they would never allow them to return and reopen the designated camp.

Women activists of Napet village said: “We had planned to organise the Thabal Chongba folk dance on the occasion of the Manipuri new year on Saturday. However, the inmates of the designated camp who are members of the United Revolutionary Front objected for unknown reasons.”

It transpires that the villagers had levelled empty paddy fields, some distance away, where they organised the traditional folk dance.

“However around 10.30 p.m. the inmates of the designated camp fanned out and beat up two youths. Two other village boys, who interfered to placate them since it would disturb the traditional dance nearb, were also beaten up,” a woman told IANS.

Some of the inmates also reportedly opened fire in air to scare away the dancers.

Since the situation had gone too far, residents of nearby villages assembled and decided to torch the designated camp.

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