Protests hit normal life in Manipur

SHILLONG, AUG.14. Normal life in Manipur was affected since the early hours today, as people staged protests demanding withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

Various underground organisations had also called a 24-hour general strike against the Independence Day celebration.

The Manipur Chief Minister, Okram Ibobi, tried to pacify the agitators by lifting the Act from the Imphal municipality areas, but people of the greater Imphal area, in protest against the partial lifting of the Act, set up road and burnt tyres on roads in many areas. The organisations spearheading the agitation have said the strike would not end till the Act is withdrawn totally.

For the first time the tribals have also joined the movement. After calling a 12-hour general strike in the five hill districts today, the Zeliangrong tribals have called for a three-day strike. Since the only national highway runs through the areas controlled by these tribals, Manipur is also cut off.

The Manipur Government has sought additional Central forces to control the situation. Several battalions of the BSF, RAF and the CRPF have reached Manipur.

Security measures have been tightened throughout the State, but people continue to defy curfew and prohibitory orders.

PTI reports from Imphal:

The agitators called upon the people to boycott `India-made' goods and asked all legislators and Ministers to resign for their failure to remove the Act.

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