Normal life disrupted in Imphal Valley as Meira Paibi, local clubs call for 48-hr bandh
Markets and businesses were closed and traffic was scarce. Class 10 board exams scheduled for September 19 and 20 were canceled and will be rescheduled
In the Imphal Valley districts on Tuesday, 19 September, the Meira Paibi — a collective of Meitei women — and five local clubs called for a 48-hour bandh from midnight, demanding the release of five youths who were arrested for carrying firearms and sporting camouflage uniforms, officials said.
Markets and commercial establishments remained closed and few vehicles plied the roads on the morning of Tuesday, 19 September.
Supplementary examinations of all subjects of class 10 board exams of Board of Secondary Education, Manipur, scheduled on Tuesday, 19 September, and Wednesday, 20 September, were cancelled in view of the bandh. Those will be rescheduled at a later date.
On Monday, 18 September, the Meira Paibi blocked several important roads in Khurai and Kongba in Imphal East district, Kakwa in Imphal West district, Nambol in Bishnupur district and parts of Thoubal district, demanding the release of the youths.
Manipur Police had arrested five persons on Saturday, 16 September, for carrying sophisticated weapons and donning camouflage uniforms. In a statement, police said the five had been produced before the judicial magistrate and remanded to police custody.
Yumnam Hitler, president of All Langthabal Kendra United Clubs Coordinating Committee, said, "The five arrested youths are civilians and village volunteers who have been guarding their respective villages from attacks by Kuki Zo militants as security forces have failed to do their job properly. We want them to be released unconditionally."
"The agitation will intensify if the government fails to release them," Yumnam added.
On Saturday, 16 September, protesters had tried to storm the Porompat police station, demanding the release of the five youths, prompting security forces to fire several rounds of teargas shells. A few protesters and a RAF personnel received minor injuries during the stand-off.