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Curfew in Imphal after violence

Imphal: Amid heightened tension and violence, curfew was today imposed in Manipur’s capital Imphal and mobile internet services snapped till December 25 to prevent spread of rumours over an alleged attack on a church.

While Imphal East district was brought under indefinite curfew till further orders, similar restrictions were imposed in Imphal West district till dawn tomorrow, officials said.

The curfew first came into force this noon at Porompat and Sawombung subdivisions of Imphal East district after locals resorted to violence and vandalised vehicles on Imphal-Ukhrul road while protesting against the ongoing economic blockade by the United Naga Council (UNC) on the National Highways since November 1.

However, the order was flouted by some locals who came onto the streets and pelted stones at the police which fired tear gas shells resulting in injuries to three persons, the police said.

Following this, curfew was clamped across Imphal East district.

District Magistrate N Geofferry said an indefinite curfew in Imphal East was clamped from 4 PM and will continue till further orders.

In neighbouring Imphal West, curfew was imposed as a precautionary measure to ensure that there is no untoward incident.

Imphal West district magistrate Robert Kshetri Mayon said the curfew in Imphal West started at 6.30 PM and will continue till 4 AM tomorrow.

The Manipur state capital falls in both Imphal East and Imphal West districts.

Meanwhile, Manipur Home department ordered telecom operators in the state to snap internet services in Imphal West district till Christmas.

The state Cabinet had yesterday decided to temporarily shutdown internet services in view of the prevailing situation.

The landlocked north eastern state has been experiencing severe hardship in supply of essential items since November 1 after UNC imposed an indefinite economic blockade on the two national highways that serve as lifeline for the state.

The blockade was imposed following the state government’s announcement of formation of seven new districts, four of which have been formally inaugurated.

Tension in the state escalated after militants continued their violent attacks on Manipur Police and other state forces in the last few days that left three policemen dead and 14 others injured last Thursday.

The attack was followed by triple bomb blasts at Nagaram area in Imphal West district allegedly by Manipur Naga People’s Front the very next day.

In another incident, suspected militants overpowered a small outpost of Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) at Nungkao area yesterday in Tamenglong district and fled with nine service weapons.