Road blockade suspended after Manipur government assurance

Imphal, April 12 (IANS) An indefinite road blockade imposed by a Muslim group here has been lifted following an assurance by the state government to look into their demands, the ‘joint action committee’ of Muslim communities here said on Tuesday

The ‘joint action committee’ of Muslim communities said that following Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh’s assurance that its demands would be looked into, it was suspending until Wednesday an indefinite road blockade it had earlier imposed.

The lynching of two young men late last week led to violent unrest in Imphal West district resulting in imposition of curfew by the authorities.

Meanwhile, in another violent incident in Imphal West district, three motorbike-borne men fired on Monday night at some women vigilantes who were inside their shed, injuring 12 persons, mostly women.

It’s unclear whether this incident is related to the unrest arising out of the lynching of young men.

On April 7, three Muslim young men were badly beaten up in Imphal West district by local people on the charge that they had stolen a two-wheeler. Two of them died and one was critically injured.

The lynching triggered protests and the road blockade by Muslim communities.

Violent clashes took place on Monday in Imphal West district between Muslim and non-Muslim groups, leaving 50 people, including three police commandos, injured. Most of the injured sustained bullet injuries.

Indefinite curfew has been imposed in the district.

A spokesman of the ‘joint action committee’ told reporters that the three Muslim youth who were attacked were students, not thieves.

“All three of them were students who had gone to visit a garden. Even if it is made out that they had stolen the two-wheeler, they should have been handed over to police,” he said.

“Our demands for booking the persons involved in the incident fell on deaf ears.”

Nine shops and houses were burned down during the road blockade.

Some civil society organisations have called for restraint on all sides and said the incident should not be given a communal colour.

The state government has been criticised for failing to respond adequately to the violent situation.

Heavily armed state and central forces’ personnel were patrolling the trouble-affected areas.

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