Lilong public v/s police standoff


IMPHAL, January 18 (NNN): Tension prevailed in Lilong in Thoubal district of Manipur just after noontime on Friday following a public protest over the alleged kidnapping of a 19-year-old girl.
An indefinite road blockade has been enforced along the Imphal-Mpreh road (National Highway-2) Lilong bazaar section by the Joint Action Committee formed against the alleged abduction after joining hands with the local residents.
Salima Begum, daughter of late Abdul Kadir, a resident of Lilong Leihaokhong, was reportedly kidnapped by three men from her her locality on January 11 night. Since then, her whereabouts is still unknown to her family, Md Wahazuddin, convenor of the JAC told reporters.
The JAC imposed an indefinite blockade along the NH-2 section from 12:30 pm on Friday after the Officer-in-charge and the Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Lilong Police Station failed to arrest the accused by January 17. The officials reportedly assured the JAC that the police would arrest the accused by that time.
The main accused in the kidnapping has been identified as one Md Abdul Qayum, 30, son of late Md Nazi of Lilong Chingjao.
Protesting against the failure of the police to nab the trio, hundreds of local residents under the aegis of the Salima JAC massed on the streets in Lilong today. Lilong market was closed due to the protest following which they enforced the indefinite road blockade. A police team led by SDPO, Thoubal Police Station and OC, Lilong Police Station arrived at the scene and tried to negotiate with the demonstrators, but bore no fruit, resulting in a violent standoff.
The police resorted to tear gas canisters firing as they had to control the stone-throwing protesters during which one protestor got hit and sustained minor injuries.
They also attacked and damaged one of the escort vehicles of Agriculture minister Abdul Nasir who had arrived to pacify the protesters. After a long pitched battle which lasted for about 4 hours between the police and theĀ  stone-throwing protesters, a large number of police commando personnel led by Dr S Ibomcha, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Imphal West managed to control the crowd. The combined police team was from Imphal East and Imphal West.
Meanwhile, Convenor of the Salima JAC has said the strike will be withdrawn if a police official not lower than an Officer-in-charge gives a written assurance to the JAC that the accused will be arrested during a fixed period.


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