Sunday, February 25, 2024

Minister’s godown torched in Manipur

Correspondent

A private warehouse belonging to a cabinet minister was torched in a fresh incident of arson in strife-torn Manipur on Friday night.
Timely intervention by the police and security forces, however, prevented attempts to torch one more godown of state PHE and CAF&PD minister L Susindro and his house at Khurai Sajor Leikai in Imphal East district.
The arson and attempts of arson were reported late on Friday night amid high tensions in parts of Imphal East district arising out after clashes between the Central security forces and womenfolk at various places along the stretch of the Imphal-Ukhrul road earlier in the day.
In the arson at the warehouse of the minister at Tezpur Chingarel on the side of the Imphal-Ukhrul road, properties worth over Rs 120 crore were reduced to ashes, a source close to the minister said.
Pipes of different kinds meant for the second phase Imphal Sewerage project procured by the state PHED were stored in the warehouse and almost all the pipes, mostly of polythene, were reduced to ashes.
The mob further attempted to torch one more warehouse belonging to the minister near Sajiwa Central Jail which is only around 500 meters away from the burnt down warehouse.
The police and security forces who rushed to the spot swiftly prevented the mob from torching the warehouse even as they had already set on fire two four-wheeler vehicles parked near the gate of the warehouse.
Sources said that the warehouse is used to store rice meant for the National Food Security Act.
Fire fighters from Imphal fire service station who rushed to the spot doused the fire before the vehicles were completely damaged. Around the same time, a large number of people, mostly womenfolk, tried to storm the residence of the minister Khurai Sajor Leikai under Porompat police station.
In bids to control the crowds, the police and security forces, including RAF, resorted to firing tear gas shells and mock bombs.
Many sustained minor injuries which need no medical attention, reports said.
The shelling of tear gas shells to scare away the people targeting the minister’s residence continued till the wee hours of Saturday.
The mob were agitated after the minister reportedly rescued two women from being mishandled by the crowd on his way back from Yaingangpokpi area of Imphal East bordering Kangpokpi district where tensions erupted after womenfolk blocked the road to disturb movement of Central security forces along the Imphal-Ukhrul road.
This was not the first time when properties of ministers were targeted and torched by the mobs that turned against the state government and Centre for their alleged failure to end the violence that unfolded in the state since May 3 last.
Earlier, mobs had ransacked and torched the house of state PWD minister Govindas Konthoujam at Ningthoukhong of Bishnupur district and also official quarters of commerce and industries minister Nemcha Kipgen.
The house of Union minister of state for external affairs and education Dr RK Ranjan has also been set on fire by mob recently.
On the other hand, tensions erupted at Itham Moirang Purel under Yairipok police station of Thoubal district on Saturday afternoon after troops of Gorkha Rifles tried to pull up nine youths of the village.
Reports said that troops of Gorkha Rifles came to Itham Moirang Purel and rounded up nine villagers who were taking part in guarding their village from possible attacks.
When the news spread, a large number of women rushed to the site and confronted the security personnel.
The security personnel fired some gun shots to control the women. Two persons- a woman and the driver of a vehicle transporting women from other neighbouring villages sustained injuries in the melee.
The situation calmed down only after the GR troops left the village leaving behind the nine youths, the report said.

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