Young men and women were seen shouting slogans as they marched in from various places, many of them holding placards protesting the killing of two students who had gone missing in July.
IMPHAL: Protest rallies erupted in Imphal with thousands of students marching towards the centre of the city for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, protesting the kidnapping and killing of two youths.
On the other hand, the women’s wing of Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), the apex Kuki body, staged a demonstration in Churachandpur against the delay in ordering a CBI inquiry into the killing and rape of tribals during the nearly five-month-long ethnic violence in Manipur.
Manipur Police, CRPF and RAF personnel were seen deployed in strength throughout Imphal Valley in anticipation of possible violence.
“We are holding a peaceful protest against the kidnapping and killing of fellow students and we have asked everyone to wear black badges as a mark of protest,” said Thokchom Khogendro Singh, a student leader.
Young men and women were seen shouting slogans as they marched in from various places, many of them holding placards protesting the killing of two students who had gone missing in July and pictures of whose dead bodies have surfaced recently sparking outrage.
Police officials said they are “keeping track of the situation.”
On the other hand, ITLF women’s wing convenor Mary Jone, who led the protests in Churachandpur, wondered why such inquiries were not initiated into the killings and rapes of Kukis.
“This rally is against the prompt action of the CBI into the killing of the two teenagers, who were in love and had eloped. However, there were many incidents of tribal women being raped, paraded naked and our men being killed but no CBI inquiry was conducted,” she said
“Why this bias against us? We demand CBI inquiry into incidents of violence against tribals,” she added.
The rally, in which several thousands of women took part, started at Lamka public ground, went through Tipaimukh Road and IB Road and converged at the site for the Wall of Remembrance where dummy coffins of the people killed in the ethnic violence are kept.
A clash occurred on Tuesday night between RAF personnel and locals protesting the killing of two students, who had been missing since July 6, prompting the law enforcers to lob tear gas shells and fire rubber bullets at the agitators and baton-charge them, leaving 45 of the protesters, mostly students, injured.
Although the state government has declared a holiday for schools on Wednesday, students of some Imphal-based institutions vowed to congregate at their schools.
Following the clashes, the state government has re-imposed a ban on internet mobile services with immediate effect till 7.45 pm on October 1 to prevent the spread of misinformation and rumours. It was recently lifted after more than four months of imposition on May 3 when the ethnic clashes began.
The state government has declared a holiday for schools on September 27 and 29 in view of the prevailing law and order situation, with September 28 being a public holiday in view of Milad Un-Nabi (Prophet Muhammad’s birthday).
More than 175 people have been killed and several hundred injured since ethnic clashes broke out in the northeastern state on May 3, when a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal valley, while tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mostly in the hill districts.