Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, July 15:
The novel protest, the first of its kind in Manipur, came after the 48 hours general strike called by various voluntary organizations expired today at 12 am.
Manipur, especially Imphal, has been in a state of turmoil and uncertainty ever since 32 years old Thangjam Manorama alias Henthoi of Bamon Kampu was picked up from her house in the wee hours of July 11 and later shot dead by 17 Assam Rifles personnel under contradictory claims.
Following the naked outburst of anger and bottled up rage, the district administration of the two districts of Imphal acted swiftly and imposed an indefinite curfew in Greater Imphal areas from 11 am today.
The women folk started gathering in front of the Western Gate of Kangla from 10 am onwards and taking everyone by surprise stripped off their clothing and raised slogans to lodge their protest.
Banners denouncing the excesses of the security personnel were also put up by the women folk.
Seeing the gravity of the situation, the AR personnel on sentry duty lost no time in closing the gate.
This however did not discourage the women folk from registering their protest.
Significantly the office of the Commander of 9 Sector Assam Rifles, Brig VK Pillai, is situated just a few metres away from the gate of the Kangla, where the women folks staged their protest.
The women raised slogans, demanding that the personnel involved in killing Manorama be produced before them.
They also challenged the security personnel to come out and outrage their modesty, if they wished.
Policemen who rushed to the site found themselves in an awkward position not knowing how to deal with the women who had bared all.
The women folks raised a number of slogans, questioning, how long they have to suffer, while their sons and daughters are being trampled, tortured, raped and killed by the security personnel.
After about 1 hour, police women were pressed into service and they managed to bring the situation under control.
A number of women fainted at the site of the protest and they were taken to the hospital for necessary treatment.
The body of Manoroma is still lying at RIMS morgue and with the protest rally scheduled for tomorrow, the district administration of Imphal East and West took no chances and clamped an indefinite curfew from 11 am onwards today.
District Magistrate of Imphal East KK Chhetry and DM of Imphal Y Surchandra issued separate notifications announcing the imposition of the indefinite curfew.
Enforcing the curfew under Section 144 CrPC, the District Magistrate of Imphal East notified that the general public should remain indoors during the enforcement of the restrictions.
The curfew notification said that the restrictions have been imposed in view of the perceptible threat posed by the proposed rally scheduled to be held tomorrow.
Persons who want to take out procession for marriage, funeral etc may do so after getting the due permission of the DM concerned, notified the Imphal West District Magistrate.
The restrictions however will not apply to Government agencies involved in law enforcing activities, said the notification.
As news of the curfew spread, people could be seen hurrying home to beat the deadline.
Policemen were pressed into service to enforce the restriction and at many points, they could be seen instructing the people to turn back home.
For the third consecutive day, Imphal city wore a deserted look with all the commercial centres downing shutters from 11 am onwards.
However till as late 2 pm, the police did not go over board and allowed those caught outside to return to their home safely.
The sudden announcement of the curfew saw a human chain at the Imphal West DC office at Babupara to get curfew passes.
By about 6 pm almost all the major roads and lanes of Imphal were deserted with the exception of the lone cyclist or pedestrian.
Even as the curfew was imposed, members of the Naoria Pakhanglakpa Apunba Meira Paibi Lup gathered at the market shed at Haobam Marak and staged a sit-in-protest in defiance of the curfew.
Members present at the gathering appealed to all women folk to prepare for the third Nupi Lan to protect their chastity and life from the security personnel.
The members also resolved to support any movement launched to protest the killing of Manorama.
The women folk also expressed that it would be in the fitness of things to present the Governor women's clothing as the State machinery has not been able to protect the modesty and chastity of women.
Meanwhile the CPM has expressed its strong opposition to the imposition of curfew.
General secretary of the party told the press that it would be wrong to muffle the voice of the people by imposing restrictions.
The State Government has already instituted a Judicial Inquiry to probe the circumstances leading to the death of Th Manorama but this has failed to pacify the people, with 36 voluntary organizations slamming the move as a sham.
Opposition MLA and MPP president O Joy had also gone on record and stated that the Judicial probe will prove futile without the consent of the Centre.
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