Police raided the head office of the All Manipur Students Union (AMSU) on the D.M. College campus here on Saturday and arrested the outfit's leaders selling seized consumer items at controlled rates.
AMSU members had intercepted rice, pulses and edible oil clandestinely brought here through the Jessami road in Ukhrul district on Friday.
The students had launched a campaign to check hoarding and overpricing by traders even after the suspension of the 68-day blockade imposed by the Naga tribals against Manipur. The sale was open from 9.45 a.m. in the presence of the traders. It was announced that one kg of superfine rice would be sold at Rs. 17 as against Rs. 30 in the open market. Pulses and edible oil were also to be sold at subsidised rates jointly fixed by the traders and the AMSU leaders. A huge crowd had assembled to buy the cheaper consumer items.
While the sale was on, a police team arrived, and asked the AMSU leaders to hand over the consumer items to the traders since they had complained against the forcible sale.
The leaders said the traders had agreed to the arrangement.
The people, who had converged there for buying 5 kg of rice and one litre of edible oil each, protested against the intervention of the police, saying they were protecting the traders. When the people became restive, police fired teargas to disperse them.
Police arrested James Bond Mangang, the AMSU president, and three other office-bearers. Later, condemning the police ‘excesses,' the AMSU leaders told journalists that they will continue the campaign against hoarding. They demanded the unconditional release of the four arrested.