Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pay us or face the music

“Pay 50 lakhs or face action.” A common threat that the people of Manipur get every now and then from the mushrooming militants in the state. Hurling a Chinese-made hand grenade at residences has become an easy way to extort money from the well-known personalities of the state.

Due to this violent act of the militants, many have been killed and hundreds have been injured till date. Ministers, bureaucrats, engineers, doctors, lecturers amongst others are the main targets of grenade attacks carried out by the militants. The grenade hurling incident has become such a day-to-day affair that even the local newspapers carry the news report in a single column. The latest attack is the one on Friday where a Chinese hand grenade was found at the residence of L Jayantakumar Singh, Health Minister of Manipur at Pishumthong, Imphal East. It was later diffused and disposed by the bomb experts of Manipur Police, according to a report.

However, Chongtham Ranabir, Executive Engineer IFCD is not as lucky as Minister Jayantakumar as one security guard was killed and other four were injured on a grenade attack carried out by unidentified militants on February 11 at his residence in Singjamei, Imphal West. An eye-witnessed said, “Two unidentified man on a motor-bike hurled the grenade from the front side of the engineer's residence.” But it was not a first attack on his premises but the grenades have been hurled on four more occasions as well. Ranabir told media that he has been receiving monetary demands from various militant groups. The undergrounds are after him to get contract works on favour of their fellow men, revealed Ranabir.

As a reaction to the rampant attacks, locals have been staging protests on streets and have been demanding to stop this violent way to extort money immediately. The Apunba Lup (Joint Action committee) of Khetrigao Leikei in Imphal staged a protest against the grenade attack at the residence of A R Khan, an IAS officer. The officer's house too faced a grenade attack earlier on January. Meena Begum, a member of the Apunba Lup said, “We are strictly against this kind of attacks where lives of many are at stake. We demand quick action from the militants to stop such acts immediately.”

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