17 injured in Manipur police crackdown on protesters

Imphal, April 17 : At least 17 persons including women were injured in a police action on Monday night while taking part in a protest demanding the construction of a hospital at Khundrakpam in Imphal East district of Manipur, police said on Tuesday.

According to reports, the protesters were demanding the construction of the hospital in Sagolmang area, while the state’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government is believed to be giving final touches to a plan to construct the same in Keirao constituency of the state.

The police resorted to a cane-charge and used tear gas shells to disperse the crowd, which left 17 persons injured.

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said: “The government had planned some years ago to construct the hospital at Sagolmang. However, since a land dispute arose there, it was decided that the proposed hospital would be shifted to the Keirao constituency.”

T. Lokeswor, a Congress MLA and a former speaker said: “If there is a land dispute obstructing the construction of the hospital, the government should put out documents in the public domain.”

Some activists felt that the people of the constituency and the neighbouring areas should not be punished in this manner simply because the elected representative belongs to the opposition Congress.

Monday’s torchlight procession of thousands of persons, who walked over 15 km, is the second such protest in the recent past.

S. Yaiskul, Convener of the Joint Action Committee opposing the plan to shift the hospital, said: “Majority of the people in the Khundrakpam constituency are below the poverty line. They can’t afford the medical bills for quality treatment in Manipur or other states. We shall not rest till the government reverts its decision.”

(IANS)

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