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Indefinite highway blockade cripples Manipur traffic

By The Assam Tribune

Imphal, March 3 (IANS): An indefinite blockade of National Highway 102, linking Manipur capital Imphal with Myanmar, crippled movement of vehicular traffic on Thursday.

A Joint Action Committee (JAC), formed for justice to Thongkhogin Haokip, a school teacher who was bludgeoned to death on February 28, called for the blockade beginning Wednesday midnight to protest against the failure of the authorities to nab the culprits.

As a result of the blockade of the 110-km highway, the border trade between India and Myanmar came to a grinding halt. A large number of vehicles, tourists and traders were stranded at Moreh, which is located along the India-Myanmar border.

The accusing finger was pointed at some cadres of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), a signatory to the ceasefire. However in a statement, the NSCN (IM) has denied any involvement in the incident.

Mangboi Haokip, the convener of the JAC said: "The teacher had made a dying declaration to his family members. He had said that an NSCN(IM) cadre, Thangminlal Simol and his two accomplices, Sanboi and Groundthang along with some unidentified people had beaten him inside the house of a Kargil martyr at Aimol Satu village."

He further said that the villagers took out the body in a procession the next day to demand that the culprits be handed over to them. But the armed people holed up inside the house opened fire at the villagers using automatic rifles.

Police rushed there and there was a fierce exchange of fire for over 20 minutes. However, no one was injured in the incident.

The irate villagers then burned down the house and the check-gate erected by the NSCN(IM) along the road.

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