Imphal, Sept 6:
Thousands of people today thronged at Phougakchao Ikhai in Bishnupur district bordering the Churachandpur district following a call by the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) to push back the central forces from the area till Churachandpur district today. At least 30 people including a journalist sustained injury in police action.
The large number of people thronged the area braving the curfew imposed by the district administration of Bishnupur district. Police had taken up strict measures from Malom area along the Tiddim road so that people moving towards the Phougakchao Ikhai from Imphal could be stopped.
Many were forced to turn back from Nambol area towards Imphal by the state police.
However, over thousands of people reached the Phougakchao Ikhai area from other directions. A strong team of state police halted the people at Moirang Lamkhai, however, the people confronted the police team and crossed Moirang Lamkhai. The police fired several rounds of tear gas shells to disperse the mob but failed. Later the people were stopped by another strong team of the Central Paramilitary forces at Phougakchao Ikhai area. COCOMI leaders including its convenor Jeetendra Ningombam were present in the protest. The team led by Jeetendra later tried to talk with the representatives of the Central and state forces at the spot.
The large number of Protesters later tried to break through army barricades attempting to reach their deserted houses in Torbung.
Tension was palpable in the area, with security forces comprising personnel of RAF, the Assam Rifles, and Manipur Police firing tear gas shells to bring the situation under control, they said.
The protesters, however, have stayed put at the spot, demanding that they be allowed to visit Torbung in the district, from where they were displaced following the ethnic clashes in May.
Report reaching here late in the evening said that at least 30 people including a journalist sustained injury after police fired rounds of tear gas shells and mock bombs toward the protesters.
“The security forces started firing tear gas shells, mock bombs, and gunshots when the COCOMI representatives were taking with the Police and Para Military forces”, Imphal Times reporter at the ground said.