Manipur: Thousands of women vendors protest against Imphal IED blast

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Imphal, March 13: A mass sit-in was staged at Kwairamband Bazaar on Thursday by thousands of women vendors to register protest against Wednesday’s bomb blast which left three dead and 22 people including nine women injured.

They have been treating at Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Imphal West. Hospital sources informed that the condition of some of the injured is critical.

The powerful explosion occurred around 5:50 PM at the crowded Khwairamband temporary market shed. Three persons, including one non-local hailing from Bihar were killed at the spot in the blast. Most of the victims of the blast triggered by unidentified assailants were daily wage earners and shoppers, news agency The Morung Express reported.

Police believed the explosion was caused by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). A tea stall owned by a non-local was completely destroyed in the deadly blast in which one scooter was also damaged.

All shops in the three women markets including Thangal bazaar and Paona bazaar downed shutters for the day in protest against the incident for which no group has so far claimed responsibility. The women demonstrators demanded all groups not to repeat such bomb blasts in public places. They demanded the Manipur Government to pay ex-gratia to all the victims.

Meanwhile, a protest rally was held against Wednesday’s blast at Porompat in Imphal East around 10:30 AM on Thursday. The rally participated by nearly 800 people, mostly from Khetri Bengoon, was heading towards the Imphal East Deputy Commissioner office complex.

However, a large number of police blocked their way foiling their attempt to storm the Deputy Commissioner office. A minor scuffle ensued between the protestors and police. Two of the victims, who were killed in the Khwairamband blast, hailed from Muslim-dominated Khetri Bengoon.

“Targeting daily wage earners is a shameful act. Killing labourers was a very unfortunate incident,” said Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam who visited RIMS to meet the victims yesterday. “The blast shows that we need to stand together against all such assailants,” he added.

Police have registered a case and have started investigations. The State Government has been warning that it might be forced to re-impose the Disturbed Area Act in the seven assembly segments of Imphal if violent incidents like bomb blast and killing of civilians continue.

In the past one week, security forces in Manipur nabbed nine militants belonging to Revolutionary People’s Front, Kanglei Yaon Kanna Lup, People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak, Kuki Liberation Army, United National Liberation Front and one over ground worker of NSCN.

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