General strike cripples normal life in state

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IMPHAL, Feb 28: Life came to a grinding halt in Imphal owing to the 12-hour general strike called by trade unions across the country. The general strike was spearheaded by in the state by the Coordinating Body of Trade Unions, Manipur which had the support of around 78 trade and worker unions. The major commercial areas in the city like Thangal Bazaar, Paona Bazaar, MG Avenue, etc bore a deserted look. Most government offices had witnessed thin attendance while few were totally shutdown with their gates locked. Government owned banks were affected with commercial vehicles staying off the road. Inter-state and Intra-state transport services were also affected and the number of private vehicles plying on the roads was visibly reduced. However, the ongoing examinations were not affected by the general strike and movement of people and vehicles steadily increased in the evening.

Speaking to this reporter, convener of the trade unions, Laishram Sotinkumar claimed that the general strike was a total success in the state with workers from various sections of the society actively participating in it. He reiterated that the demands made by the trade unions were valid and should be implemented. He especially lamented price rise which affected everyone except those in the higher income bracket. Consequently, the demand for a statutory minimum wage of Rs. 10,000 per month was reasonable, he justified. He also stated that while the national trade unions will decide on the future course of action, the trade unions in Manipur have decided to launch a ‘long march’ sometime in the next few months. Several sit-in-protests were held across the city by all the participating unions, he added.

At the time of filing this report, there were no major untoward incidents during the strike. However, six individuals were arrested by city police while trying to enforce the general strike in the commercial areas of Imphal. The arrested individuals are L Bihari Singh of Khangabok, M Surjit of Nambol, Semprash Heikham of Keirao, N Tombi of Kumbi, L Bidhumani of Sagolband and Y Indramani of Wangkhei.

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