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Blockade supporters torch loaded trucks in Manipur

IMPHAL: More than a dozen goods laden trucks were Tuesday damaged after they were attacked by hundreds of economic blockade supporters while proceeding towards Imphal with security escorts along the Imphal-Jiribam section of NH-37.

The blockade supporters, who came out in large number, launched the attack when 504 goods loaded trucks leaving Jiribam this early morning started crossing Lukhambi village under Noney police station of Tamenglong district this evening, around 4 pm.

Security reinforcement has been rushed from Imphal as the situation was reportedly tense and blockade supporters attempted to torch some of the trucks. 

Security forces opened fire in the air in a bid to prevent blockade supporters from causing widespread damages to the goods laden vehicles, reports said.

According to police report, a total of 504 loaded trucks left Jiribam for Imphal early this morning with security escorts provided by personnel of the Manipur Rifles and state IRB. The trucks proceeding Imphal include among others 16 petrol tankers, 27 diesel tankers and 19 bullet tankers (bulk LPG carriers). Blockade supporters attacked the vehicles with stones, sling shots and other weapons, damaging over 20 vehicles. Lukhambi is around 75 km from Imphal.

The trucks were attacked around 4 pm after around 19 loaded trucks have crossed the area safely. With reinforcement from Imphal, state security forces were making efforts to open the road for the trucks to proceed further. 

There is no report of any casualty on the part of the agitators.
The attack on the loaded trucks came a day after the 48-hour deadline set by the UNC to release its president Gaidon Kamei and publicity secretary Stephen Sankhui without any condition expired.

The deadline had expired at 4 pm of Monday.

The United Naga Council (UNC) has been imposing the economic blockade on the national highways passing through Naga dominated hill areas of Manipur in protest against Manipur government’s proposed declaration of Sadar Hills and Jiribam as full-fledged revenue districts of the state.

The two UNC leaders arrested by state police on November 25 last were in the police custody and UNC and its constituents have been pressing the state government for unconditional release of the two leaders.

As a part of pressure, protests were staged in front of DC offices in four districts, Senapati, Tamenglong, Chandel and Ukhrul on Monday.

Before today’s attack on the trucks, hundreds of people from Noney and its surrounding areas carried out a rally on the streets along the highway at Noney area.

The rallyists shouted various slogans demanding release of the UNC president and publicity secretary and denouncing the act of the Manipur government.

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