Manipur Fire Service launches cease-work strike over security forces atrocity

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Imphal: Personnel of the Manipur Fire Service have launched an indefinite cease work strike commencing from today in protest against alleged “atrocity” meted out by the central security forces toward them while on duty.

As many as five personnel of the Manipur Fire Service including an officer who rushed at New Checkon in Imphal to combat a fire were reportedly thrashed by the personnel of the 16 Jat Regiment on their way at Palace Compound.

Angered by the alleged highhanded attitude shown by the Jat Regiment personnel towards them, fire fighters today staged a sit-in-protest in front of Manipur Fire Service headquarters in Imphal suspending their duties of the state.

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While staging the protest, the fire service personnel declared that they have decided to cease discharging their services immediately until and unless befitting action is initiated against the personnel of the Jat Regiment involved in thrashing their colleagues.

They demanded placing the security personnel including the officer involved in “thrashing their colleague” under suspension from their services and a written assurance that no hindrance would be given to the fire fighters while discharging their duties.

Talking to reporters at the protest site, sub-officer of the state fire service, S Deben Singh said that upon receiving phone calls about a fire breakout at New Chekon area, a team of firefighters with a fire tender rushed to the spot yesterday, around 1.30 pm.

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Upon reaching Palace Compound, they stopped there for some minutes on hearing gun firing sounds coupled with obstruction by a mob.

In the meantime, a team of Jat Regiment arrived there and instantly asked them to proceed.  At that, they (fire service personnel) urged the security force to allow the fire tender to move by clearing the crowd.

In the meantime, “without giving any reason, they started thrashing the fire service personnel without paying any respect despite being in full uniform”, the sub-officer alleged.

“The security forces personnel even dragged down the driver of the fire tender and thrashed him with canes. With severe injuries, one of the personnel was hospitalized”, he added.

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He said what would be their (security forces) action towards the civilians when they pay no respect to the fire service personnel on uniform and even to the media persons.

He said that until the officer and personnel of the Jat Regiment involved in the incident are suspended from their services and a written assurance that no disturbance will be given to the fire service personnel on duty from the competent authority, they will not attend to duties.

While the protest was going on, joint director of state fire service L Nabachandra and Column commander major L Surchandra of 16 Jat Regiment arrived and appealed to the personnel to revoke their decision while assuring that appropriate action will be initiated against the security personnel involved in the incident.

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