IMPHAL, December 21: The situation arising out of the kidnapping of three drivers by suspected Kuki militants could balloon into a major issue disturbing the festive season, with locals of one of the driver announcing an indefinite state-wide bandh, while transporters have threatened to stay off the highways, today.
Locals of Keinou Thongthak today stage a sit in protest demanding the safe release of driver Chanambam Gyaneshwore Singh by tomorrow.
The locals further threatened to impose a state wide indefinite general strike from December 23, in case the driver is not release safe and sound.
On the other hand, the All Manipur Road Transport Drivers and Motor Workings Union has also appealed for the immediate and safe release of the three drivers who were kidnapped by suspected Kuki militants from separate incidents.
Two Shaktiman (recovery vehicle) drivers- Kh Dara Singh, 40, son of Kh Gouro Singh of Irilbung and S Opendro Singh, 35, son of S Shama Singh of Chingarel were kidnapped on December 15; while Chanambam Gyaneshwore Singh, 49, son of Ch Ibohal Singh of Keinou Bazaar, Bishnupur was kidnapped by a separate militant group.
The transporters’ body has also warned to stop all transportation of goods along the National Highways 37 and 150, unless the kidnapped drivers are released by December 23 and the government take appropriate action on the issue.
Speaking to media persons today, spokesperson of the body H Kullamani Singh threatened to stop all commercial vehicles along NH 37 and 150 from December 24. Subsequently vehicles will also stop plying on other highways.
Lamenting that the drivers have to face problems of utmost gravity along the national highways in the state, he said that the government seem to be oblivious to their plights and continue to neglect taking action against such anti-social activities.
Elaborating further on the two kidnapping incidents, he said Gyaneshwore was kidnapped by suspected Kuki militants which has been confirmed by a phone call from a mobile phone number 8732008718, which has remain switched off ever since.
He was kidnapped from a place between Leingangpokpi and New Keiphundai along NH 37 while returning after loading FCI food grains at Jiribam.
He continued that the Tata truck is now stationed inside the FSD, Jiribam and an ultimatum was today submitted to the state Chief Minister and the additional DGP (LO).
On the other hand, owner of the Shaktiman truck (recovery vehicle), Sunil Kumar Awik, son of Mintaran of Jodhpur, UP currently staying at Mahatma Gandhi Avenue stated that his two drivers Dara and Gouro had been hired by Thangboi of Lamjang Village, Churachandpu district to pull up a vehicle at Lamjeng village on December 15
He said the two have been kidnapped by the KNF (N) and on December 16 around 2-3 pm, the said militant group had demanded Rs 25 lakh as ransom.
The demand for ransom was made through a mobile phone no 8119873512, he said before adding that the mobile number has remained switched off ever since.
Meanwhile, demanding the safe and sound release of kidnapped driver Gyaneshwore, the Keinou Thongthak Women’s Development Association today organized a sit in protest.
Tata truck driver Gyaneshwore was kidnapped by suspected Kuki militants from along the Imphal-Jiribam highway.
Gyaneshwore’s brother who was also present at the protest demonstration, said that the family had yesterday around 8.30 pm received a call from a mobile phone making a ransom demand of Rs one crore.
The phone has remained switch off ever since, he said.
He further lamented that Gyaneshwore was the main earner for the family, and asked how could the family arrange such a huge sum in such a short period of time.
He further appealed to the vehicle owner and the state government to find a solution to bring home his brother at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the demonstrators have also warned of an indefinite state-wide general strike from 6 pm of December 23 if the driver is not release by December 22.
It is also learnt that Gyaneshwore who is the sole earner of his family lives with his wife, two daughters and an 80-year old father.
On the other hand, locals also came out to the streets and burned tyres on the roads demanding safe and sound release of the driver by tomorrow.