After a brief lull, migrant workers become targets of the armed persons in Manipur. Upon instruction of the Manipur Home Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei, the police and paramilitary forces have beefed up the security measures for them.

For several decades, unidentified armed persons have been killing the ubiquitous migrant workers. In one or two cases of killings one underground organisation had claimed responsibility. So far no killer has been brought to justice.

About a month back a foreign made hand grenade was hurled inside a rented room at Uripok in Imphal killing two migrant workers and injuring three others. On Thursday one scraps dealer identified as Shahjahan Sheikh was gunned down at Phumlou Siphai in Imphal West district by two youths who came in a two wheeler. The killers escaped after the attack. There has been no claim. No arrest has been made.

Mr. Gangmei fears that militants have renewed their bloody campaign. From Friday, police and paramilitary forces have prevented the mobile hawkers moving around. Police sources said that over 50 migrant workers who were moving in the villages to sell various items or repair gas stoves or pressure cookers were rounded up and returned to their rented houses. For the time being they are asked not to venture out. If there is more violence most of them will be kept in temporary relief camps to be opened inside the Imphal city.

The migrant workers in Imphal east, Imphal west, Thoubal and Bishnupur districts are not allowed to earn money by moving around in the villages. General security in the localities where these hawkers are putting up has been tightened.

In absence of any formal claim from the insurgents police cannot say which group or groups are behind the fresh attacks. Some migrant workers who cannot move out of their rented rooms told The Hindu that since they cannot earn anything now they will have to return to their homes and they may try to come back once normality is restored.

However there is no restriction to the movements of these migrant workers within Imphal city and other areas where police had tightened security. Police feel that there may not be any formal claim from any underground organisation. This is because of the fact that parents and other sections had objected to the quit notice served on the migrant workers saying that in case of retaliations their children who are studying or working in almost all states will be at the receiving end.