Drivers hurt in blockade violence; six trucks set ablaze

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IMPHAL, September 16: In yet another violence filled day along National Highway 37 (NH 53), six trucks including four cement loaded trucks and another two carrying medicines were burned this afternoon at around 1 pm at Nungkao village, which is about 60 kms from Jiribam and falling under Nungba PS.

According to reliable sources, around eight occupants of the six trucks including the drivers have been injured with some of them reported to be serious during the arson committed by suspected blockade supporters numbering around 30 this noon.

Informing IFP through the telephone from about three kms away from the actual incident spot, one of the victims who was lucky enough to have escaped with minor injuries stated that the six trucks were stopped when the assailants suspected to be supporters of the blockade threw rock boulders from the hill tops of both sides of the highway at around 12:45 pm.

He further informed that the assailants further tried to physically attack them after their trucks were made to stop.

“Somehow, they managed to escape leaving their trucks behind. The assailants then turned their ire towards the trucks and after tearing the diesel tanks set them on fire.”

He further lamented that they had to manage on their own for more than one and half hours before the arrival of any escort party to the scene.

“After the arrival of the security personnel including MR, IRB and state police, the mob around the trucks were dispersed by firing several blank shots”.

After finding none of the truckers around the incident site, the security personnel made a brief search around the area and rescued them, he maintained

He further stated that there is a BSF post at Nungkao, who were supposed to be on ROP duty for the passing goods laden trucks, however not a single personnel of the post were seen during and after the arson.

He further informed that his brother owns four of the six burnt trucks.

The trucks carrying cement bear registration numbers MN 01 7365, MN 01 7835, MN 01 8126 and MN 01 7823.

Meanwhile, according to a police source, around 1000 vehicles including goods laden trucks, oil tankers and gas cylinder carriers were escorted by a heavy team of state security forces under a tight security ROP conducted by the CRPF, BSF and AR along the National Highway 37 from Jiribam towards Imphal.

The source further maintained that the six trucks were slowed down by due to certain mechanical snags in some of the trucks. The trucks were attacked before they managed to keep up with the others.

The source also added that more security personnel including cdo teams from all valley districts will be called in to assist the convoy tomorrow. 

Among the injured victims Achau Singh, 35, of Singjamei Thongam Leikai and Thoi Singh, 37, of Langathel village have been identified as seriously injured.

Meanwhile according to a team of mediapersons returning from a trip to Jiribam, all trucks and their escort party are presently stranded at Nungkao village.

The team has also informed that the officials of the security escort and the villagers of the area are convening a meeting to discuss the issue.

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