The indefinite strike called by film and open air theatre actors demanding the arrest of NSCN (I-M) finance secretary Livingstone for allegedly misbehaving with an actress crippled normal life in Manipur on Saturday.

It was alleged that Livingstone molested Momoko on Tuesday night at a public music programme in Chandel district.

The situation prompted the district magistrates of Imphal East and Imphal West districts to impose curfew from 7 pm on Saturday till 6 am on Sunday. Even while the government said the functionary would be arrested anytime now, responding to the outcry against the incident, it suspended an assistant sub inspector, one head constable and four constables in Chandel district on the charge of dereliction of duty. The officials were accused of remaining mute spectators when the actress was ‘molested’ by the NSCN man.

Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam slammed the officials for doing nothing to control the situation, nor seeking help from other forces. However, Mr. Gaikhangam’s appeal to the film fraternity to call off the protest was not heeded.

From early morning on Saturday, hundreds of youths, armed with batons, blocked vehicular traffic along the State and national highways.

Police resorted to baton charge and firing of tear gas in many places in the four valley districts. However, there was no impact of the strike in the five hill districts dominated by tribals.

Effigies of Livingstone were burnt at public places. As all available police and paramilitary personnel were rushed to sensitive spots, many areas were left unmanned.

Deserted look

Educational institutions, government and private offices wore a deserted look. Markets and shops remained closed. State and inter-State bus services were hit. Many passengers could not make it to the airport as taxis did not ply.

Slogan-shouting volunteers burnt old tyres on the road.

There was an appeal from some sections to suspend the strike till Christmas.

CM seeks Delhi counsel

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi has rushed to New Delhi to confer with Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde.

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