General Strikes

IMPHAL | Aug 9: The State was paralysed by the nineteen hours general strike called against the delayed justice to the death of Babysana. The general strike was called by “Joint Action Committee against the Murder of Ningthoujam Babysana Chanu” starting from 5 am today to midnight.

The strike has been supported by various local bodies, civil bodies including student organisations in the State. Institutions were shut while businesses and transportation remained ceased. Government offices were seen with least number of employees and were totally affected.

Babysana was allegedly found hanging at the dormitory of Standard Robarth Higher Secondary school, Canchipur on July 18. Due to suspicion of foul play, autopsy of the deceased was done for two times at RIMS and JNIMS respectively as per the request from family members including JAC.

Strike supporters were seen on city streets where they blocked streets with logs and other items and women folks at various localities staged sit-in supporting the strike. A public meeting was held on Wednesday by local clubs, organisations, Meira Paibis at Thangmeiband Athletic Union’s ground where it was resolved to impose the general strike after imposing a 12-hour bandh on Thursday.

A torch rally protesting the death of the minor was organised in the evening from Lamphel, Sana Keithel. It was foiled by police who arrived at the spot and intercepted the demonstrators. Police hurled mock bombs while several rounds of tear gas shells were fired to disperse the crowd. Four women and one man received injuries, while two persons were arrested.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West on Thursday remanded two members of the JAC, Pratap Leishangthem, 51, and Elangbam Joykumar, 40 to judicial custody for 15 days. They were arrested on Wednesday in connection with the agitations and strikes that have been taken up since the alleged murder of the girl student. 144 Cr PC has been imposed in Imphal West district.

As the government has not released Pratab and Joykumar by 10 am today without conditions as demanded by the JAC, its ten members along with other members of TUC surrendered today at about 2 pm. Police arrested the members under the charge of disrupting peace in the State.

The JAC has stated in a release that 20 more members will surrender themselves tomorrow as a part of the ongoing protest.

Meanwhile, our Thoubal correspondent added that the 19-hour general strike called by the ‘JAC against the murder of Babysana’ has severely affected normal functioning in both Thoubal and Kakching districts with no public vehicles plying on the streets.

Although some private vehicles were seen plying on the streets, transport services ferrying passengers from the district to others remained suspended. Burning tyres along with wooden blockades were also witnessed in various areas of the districts with supporters of the bandh blocking roads in the areas of Yairipok, Wangjing, Khongjom, Kakching, Wabagai Lamkhai, Kakching Khunou and Sugnu amongst others.  It may also be mentioned that even though some government offices remain opened the number of employees who turned up were very less.

The main markets of both districts including Thoubal, Yairipok, Wangjing, Kakching, Wabagai Lamkhai and Sugnu Keithels remained deserted with only a few shops being open. And even though most government schools were opened, the turn-up of students were quite low; however, there has been no reports of untoward incidents due to the general strike with police forces taking extra precautionary measures.

Meanwhile, students and teachers of Advance Learner English School located at Heitup-pokpi Leikai, Heirok Part-l; Chingdompok High school- Heirok part-II and Bright Career Academy, Umathel also staged protest meets against the “Murder of Babysana.”

Khekman Meira Paibi Apunba Lup too organised a protest meet demanding justice and disclosure of the truth in regard to the ‘death of Babysana’ was also held at the community hall located at the ground of Thoubal Khekman Jilla Keithel.

In regard to the ‘Death of Babysana’, Joint Committee on People’s Welfare Yairipok (JCPWY), an apex body of 10 local clubs of the area, along with vendors of Yairipok keithel and members of Mari paibi lups of Laimanai, Top, Bishnunaha and Bamon Leikai also held a protest meet demanding the investigation reports of the death of Babysana must be disclosed to the public while also staging road blockades from the early morning hours today.

Protest meets were also held at Charangpat and Wangkhem Keithel with the support of AMSU-Thoubal District Committee.

In the meantime, Anal Womens Union, Chandel has also expressed its condemnations over the death of Babysana. “The State government should furnish and disclose the facts of the incident at the earliest,” added a release from the Union.

~IFP

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