Republic Day celebrated in Manipur without incident

Imphal, Jan 26 (IANS) The 67th Republic Day was celebrated in all nine districts of Manipur on Tuesday without any major untoward incident despite boycott calls and general strikes.

The call for boycott and dawn-to-dusk shutdown was given by the banned underground militant organisations, the United Naga Council and others.

A few hundred trucks, buses and other vehicles were stranded along the national highways as a result of the general strike call.

There were some incidents of burning down of the decorative gates raised by the government departments for the Republic Day celebrations in Tamenglong district.

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi was the chief guest at the main function held at Kangla, where over 100 contingents and tableaux participatged in the parade and display.

There were state and central forces, school and college students, cultural and sports contingents and tableaux highlighting the achievements of the government departments.

However, almost all parts of the state wore a deserted look as people stayed indoors. No vehicles except those exempted by the banned organisations from the general strike were noticed.

All shops and commercial establishments also were shut, the Republic Day being a national holiday.

Police had beefed up security measures throughout the state. However, there was no report of major arrest or recovery of arms and explosives.

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh decorated six police personnel with medals for meritorious service. One fire service medal also was given.

It was also officially announced that the President’s medal for distinguished service was awarded to a policeman and the Presidential correctional medal for meritorious services was given to two jail staff.

The 48-hour general strike and boycott call given by the United Naga Council was in protest against the alleged excesses committed by the Manipur government and the continuing demand for withdrawal of state forces from areas where the ceasefire and suspension of operations are in force.

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