Imphal,Dec 23: A journalist was killed in police firing on the second day of the indefinite strike in Manipur called by a film body demanding the arrest of a Naga militant for allegedly molesting a film actor.
Nanao Singh (29) was killed this afternoon when the police opened fire at Thangmeiband area in Imphal West district at supporters of the general strike who torched a police vehicle and obstructed the plying of public and security vehicles, official sources said.
Mr. Singh, a reporter of the newspaper ‘Prime News’ was hit by a bullet on his chest. He succumbed to his injury at a hospital.
As the news of the death spread, violence took place in different parts of Manipur valley areas, particularly in Imphal East and Imphal West districts, official reports from the districts said.
The bandh supporters, who have been demanding the arrest of NSCN(IM) militant Livingstone Anal for allegedly molesting Manipuri film actress Momoko in public view during a musical concert in Chandel district on December 18, stepped up their blockade of all major roads and brickbatted the police when they tried to remove them.
They damaged and set afire at least four public vehicles who defied the general strike at Shingjamei, Sagolband and some other areas despite the large deployment of police forces.
State Home Minister Gaikhangam visited the hospital and condoled the death of Nanao Singh. He also appealed to the agitators to remain calm and cooperate with the authorities to restore the situation.
Hundreds of journalists gathered at the Regional Institute of Medical Science and Hospital where Singh died. The body was later taken to the Manipur press club.
Earlier, police burst tear gas shells to disperse a mob which threw stones at the police vehicles in Imphal West district, official reports said.
The protesters had put logs and boulders on the roads and burnt tyres to prevent movement of patrolling police vehicles and the general people.
When the police personnel tried to clear the road at Khurai near here, the bandh supporters pelted stones at them leading to the police action, the reports added.
Gaikhangam appealed to the strikers, particularly Manipur Film Forum (MFF), to remain calm and said all out efforts were on to trace and arrest the Naga militant.
He said Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh is meeting Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in Delhi to discuss the militant’s arrest as NSCN—IM is engaged in peace talks with the Centre.
The general strike has affected the enthusiasm surrounding Christmas as people, particularly from hill districts could not come here for their purchases for the festival, the reports said.