Manipur: Normal life hit in bandh over molestation of film actress

Normal life was crippled on Friday following an indefinite statewide bandh from midnight called by a social organisation demanding the arrest of a militant of NSCN-IM who allegedly molested a Manipuri film actress at a public function.

All shops, markets, business and entertainment houses remained closed while transport services between Manipur and neighbouring states and within the state were cancelled because of the bandh called by the Manipur Film Forum (MFF), reports said.

Attendance in both central and state government offices was affected due to non-plying of passenger buses, official sources said adding that precautionary measures were taken by deploying forces at various strategic locations to prevent any untoward incident.

A spokesman of the MFF said the decision to the call the bandh was taken last evening because the Chief Minister and state leaders had not taken concrete steps to arrest self-styled Lt Col of NSCN-IM Livingstone Anal who allegedly molested film actress Momoka in public view while she was compering a song competition at Chandel district on December 18.

Livingstone also opened fire at two artists who tried to rescue Momoka but the bullets missed, said a memorandum submitted to the state government by the MFF whose indefinite bandh was supported by various major social organisations including United Committee Manipur, All Manipur United Clubs Organisations and several other women organisations. Official sources said some people were injured when police lathicharged demonstrators, including artists, who came to meet the chief minister to submit a memorandum on the issue last evening.

Manipur Home Minister Gaikhangam said the government has already instructed police to arrest the NSCN-IM ultra, Livingstone, and book him as per provisions of the law. Livingstone, a relative of the sitting MLA from Chandel Assembly constituency, is reportedly hiding in nearby jungle, official reports said.

Gaikhangam urged Manipur Film Forum to call off the bandh in view of the Christmas season saying that all efforts would be made to arrest the NSCN-IM militant.

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