Strike paralyses border trade, affects normal life in Manipur

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Imphal, May 19 (IANS) A 24-hour general strike called by groups belonging to the Kuki hill tribe paralysed the legal border trade and normal life at Manipur’s border town of Moreh on Friday.

Police told IANS that there was no report of any untoward incident during the “total shutdown”, which is in protest against a bomb blast in the border town on Wednesday night by suspected militants.

The suspected militants had detonated the powerful bomb at the Kut ground under Ward No. 2 of Moreh at 7 p.m. (local time). There were no casualties.

Effective from Thursday midnight, the general strike was jointly called by the Hill Tribal Council, the Kuki Students’ Organisation and the Kuki Women Union and Human Rights.

“The international gate numbers I and II were not open on Friday as a precautionary measure. As a result tourists and traders from India could not go to Namphalong and Tamu towns. Traders from Myanmar also did not come to Moreh,” police said.

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Police sources said that two shops in Imphal west district were partially damaged on Thursday due to a powerful bomb blast. While there has been no claim to this, on Tuesday another bomb exploded at Tamu town, which is frequented by Indian traders and tourists.

Tombimacha, a trader who frequently goes to Moreh from Imphal, is one of the several persons stranded at Moreh. Talking to IANS, she said that it is sheer nonsense that bombs should be exploded in a peaceful area.

“It is understandable that people are protesting and the police should nab the culprits. The promise of the new government to make Manipur a strike-free state should be made meaningful,” she said.

No militant group has taken responsibility for the bomb blasts so far.

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