48-hr bandh threat by Tangkhul bodies

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IMPHAL, March 8: The Tangkhul Naga Aza-Longfung and Kashom Khellen Sub-divisional Development Association have put an ultimatum to impose a 48-hour bandh if the two abducted labours are not released safely within four days.

J Mayami, chairman of joint organisation committee of Tangkhul Naga Aza-Longfung and Kashom Khellen Sub-divisional Development Association briefed the media at the Manipur Press Club on Saturday afternoon about the proposed bandh.  He said that the Tangkhul Naga Aza-Longfung comprises of 87 villagers and every village chief is exasperated with such unlawful activities continuing for the last 7-8 years in the soil of Southern Tangkhul.

“Most of the incidents taking place in our areas are related with abduction for ransom. In 2006, Victor Keishing was abducted for ransom. On March 2 around 2 pm, the two labours of M/S ABC Infrastructure private Ltd, Assam were kidnapped by suspected Kuki militants from Somrei in Ukhrul. They were engaged in developmental work of the Thoubal to Kashom Khullen road. Till now, they are still untraced.”

The development of road construction under the Asian Development Bank through the DoNER ministry in Southern Tangkhul give people little hope of improvement in road connectivity which the state government has neglected till today. The construction work has just started with only the soil testing and surveying of the area for construction of road being done, he said.

Alleging that the government has not taken any positive steps to stop abduction incidents, he said that the state and union government have not identified the Souther Tangkhul area as a most sensitive area despite such abductions and extortions happening frequently. Security personnel conducting road frisking and checking the passenger’s vehicle only gave big trouble to the public.

On March 7, an assembly of village chiefs conducted during a meeting at Jakamai Village adopted the resolution that if the two labours, a non-local labour Devasis Mandel and a Cacher meitei Ch Ajit, a JCB driver, are not released within four days safely, there will be a 48-hours- strike from March 11 mid-night onwards.

The chairman of the joint organising committee asked the miscreants whether they are valley based militants or hill-based to reveal their identity and intentions.  He said that if someone from the Southern Tangkhul area found involved or giving shelter to the abductors will be expelled from area permanently.

Former chairman of the Tangkhul Naga Aza-Longfung, Jojo, said that the occurrence of eight similar abduction incidents recently in the area forced us to strongly suspect the handiwork of Kuki militants.

“We don’t have the evidence to prove their involvement.We highly condemn kidnapping for ransom. Such incidents give hindrance to the developmental work of Southern Tangkhul area. The development of our road is our hope. But sometime the progress of the work gets delayed by some individual or party. From today onwards a volunteer will safe guard the developmental works to check any untoward incidents in the area because the state and paramilitary forces deployed in various areas are useless and these incidents make us feel insecure.”

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