Rebels, police face public ire over Imphal blast

October 29th, 2008 - 5:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Imphal, Oct 29 (IANS) Separatists as well as the police in northeastern India’s Manipur state were facing public ire over the Oct 21 blast near here that killed 17 people and injured about 30, with protests and demonstrations gaining ground.A rag-tag rebel faction called the Kangleipak Communist Party (Military Council) claimed responsibility for the explosion at Ragailong, on the outskirts of capital Imphal, saying the attack was aimed at the police who were “encouraging gambling” in the area as well as the gamblers.

Protesters from the bomb-hit area took out a march Tuesday wielding placards, some of which read “Killing innocents is not an act of revolution” and “Don’t kill innocents to show your power”. The slogans in the placards were clearly directed at the militants.

The state police also came in for criticism with the protesters blaming them for not paying heed to their call to crack down on gambling in the area, which was the reason cited by the rebels for their murderous attack.

“We have been calling upon the police for quite sometime to take steps to check gambling in the area, but no one bothered to take action,” said Kambui Lunglu, a woman activist from Ragailong.

The protesters took out a march from the blast site to the chief minister’s office. They later met Chief Minister Ibobi Singh and submitted a memorandum.

“We have demanded a judicial enquiry into the incident and have sought relief for the families of those killed and injured,” said a member of the delegation that met Singh.

The protest against the action by the militants is significant here because killings and rights violation by separatists usually go unprotested, at least publicly.

Militant groups in Manipur has been donning the role of moral police, cracking down against malpractices during examinations, corruption and drug abuse.

The state, bordering Myanmar, has at least 19 active militant groups pushing demands ranging from autonomy to secession.

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