Total shutdown in Manipur to protest merger with India

Newmai News Network

Imphal: Life in the strife-torn valley districts of Manipur was adversely affected on Sunday owing to a rebel-sponsored total shutdown to protest the “merger” of the erstwhile kingdom of Manipur to the Indian union.

In response to the strike call, shops, public transport, other business establishments, financial and educational institutions remained closed across Imphal and other valley districts, although it had no impact in the hill districts.

With almost all important markets like Paona Bazar, Thangal Bazar and Ima Keithel, Khwairamband Keithel remained closed, the streets in the capital city were deserted.

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On the outskirts of Imphal too, almost all shops and other business establishments, oil pumps and financial institutions closed their shutters during the strike hours.

A sharp reduction in traffic volume was also witnessed in the capital city as except very few private vehicles and vehicles of essential service, were seen on the roads.

Similar situations were reported from district headquarters in the valley.

Inter-state and inter-district buses remained off the roads fearing backlash from the rebels if they defy the general strike.

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The strike also largely affected remote areas of the six valley districts of Thoubal, Kakching, Imphal East, Imphal West, Bishnupur and Jiribam where even small shops in the villages reportedly remained closed for the day.

No shop was ready to open despite the presence of police and security forces at sensitive locations, reports culled from various places added.

The shutdown had no impact in the hill districts where except the non-arrival of inter-district service commercial vehicles, all other activities were normal, according to reports from the district headquarters.

No untoward incident was reported anywhere during strike hours. However, tight security measures were taken in Imphal and sensitive areas on the outskirts of the state capital.

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Rebel groups in Manipur have been observing October 15 every year as “National Black Day” to protest the merger of the erstwhile kingdom to the Indian union for the last three decades.

The rebel groups resorting to armed struggle to regain Manipur’s sovereignty called the general strike protesting the annexation of the erstwhile nation on October 15, 1949.

Among others, the Coordination Committee (CorCom), a conglomerate of four armed rebel groups, gave the general strike from midnight of October 14 till 5 pm of October 15.

It was on this day (October 15) in 1949 that Manipur was declared part of the Indian Union after signing the ‘Merger Agreement’ on September 21 of the same year.

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