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Violence rages in Churachandpur; CM forced to cancel visit; Situation under control now, says CM

Section 144 imposed, Internet suspended in Churachandpur district after a mob set fire to the event venue of CM N Biren Singh.

Normal life was disrupted in the district due to the 8-hour total shutdown called by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF). Biren said that stern action will be taken against the perpetrators who destroyed public property.

TFM Report

Churachandpur has been on the boil with a civil society organisation imposing an eight-hour total shutdown in protest against the accumulative land and forest survey carried out by the state government ahead of chief minister N Biren Singh’s scheduled visit to the district on Friday. On Saturday, the chief minister said that the situation is under control now and normalcy has been restored in Churachandpur.

The district witnessed a violent protest since Thursday night forcing the chief minister to cancel his visit after shutdown supporters clashed with the police near the venue, where the chief minister was to address a public meeting.

Normal life was disrupted in the district due to the 8-hour total shutdown called by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF).

Despite the shutdown call, state machinery put in place preparations for the chief minister’s visit on Friday by deploying a large contingent of state and paramilitary forces. The chief minister was to bring new equipment for the open gym that was destroyed by a mob the previous night.

A significant number of people including government officials were preparing to roll out the red carpet for the Chief Minister at PT sports complex when a large number of shutdown supporters tried to storm the venue. Police resorted to firing tear gas to disperse the mob and in retaliation, the agitators pelted stones. At least one policeman was injured in the attack and two protestors were arrested. Considering the volatile situation, authorities had to cancel the event.

In response to the shutdown call, protestors came out in the streets and burned tyres to block roads.

All business establishments and educational institutions remained closed. Public transportation stopped plying, during the shutdown period.

The Lamka town, which is the district headquarter of Churachandpur district wore a deserted look. Heavy security deployment to prevent any untoward incidents.

The Forum had also announced non-cooperation with any government programme in the districts. The ITLF also expressed discontentment towards the government for demolishing three churches in Imphal recently.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister N Biren Singh said that stern action will be taken against the perpetrators who destroyed public property. “No one can hamper any kind of developmental work, those who are involved in such anti-development and anti-social activities will not spare. It is the BJP government’s commitment,” said Biren.

He further said his planned visit to Churachandpur was cancelled at the request of the local MLA, LM Khaute citing the tense situation in the district. He was invited by the MLA to inaugurate the gym.

“The event was not organised by the government but to mark the one-year anniversary of the local MLA Khaute. The MLA invited me for the open gym inauguration”, said Biren.

It may be noted that a mob destroyed the gym and also burned chairs kept at the venue of the public rally late Thursday night.

Following this, the district authority shut down internet services in Churachandpur and its neigbouring district Pherzawl for five days. The district authority also clamped section 144 of CrPC to curb violence in Lamka town.

The mobile internet shutdown affected many people as a medium of exchange is made through the internet in many areas, particularly in the town.

However, the scenario is changing with nearly 30 per cent having broadband connection and many people are using Wi Fi.

A Curfew under section 144 of CrPC was cramped at New Lamka area of Churachandpur

The miscreants also set ablaze chairs, sound systems, banners, etc at Sadbhavna Mandap ,New Lamka where preparations for the thanksgiving programme on the 1st anniversary of the MLA of Churachandpur AC Mr LM Khaute were on.

Meanwhile, the MLA of Churachandpur AC Mr LM Khaute addressed a press conference in the afternoon at his residence saying that as a mark of respect to the people’s genuine displeasure against the government. He said he had asked the CM not to come as the situation doesn’t permit and announced the cancellation of his Thanksgiving programme.

He appealed to the people to maintain peace and expressed his trust in the peace-loving people of his constituency that normalcy will prevail.

Meanwhile, the Information and Publicity dept. of ITLF said that the total shutdown imposed by them between 8 am to 4 pm was a success and thanked the General public and the CSOs for their cooperation. The shutdown already served its purpose, it added.

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