Security beefed-up at Sangai Festival venues amid boycott

Newmai News Network
Imphal | November 21

Police on Thursday foiled a bid to storm Manipur Tourism office by a group of women even as police conducted mopping operations in the surrounding areas of venues of the Manipur Sangai Festival as part of security measures ahead of the festival.

A group of women under the aegis of Coordination Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) tried to storm the Tourism office, the department that is hosting the Manipur Sangai Festival, the premiere tourism festival of Manipur Government.

The attempt to storm the office was foiled by police on duty nearby the office in Imphal’s North AOC. 

COCOMI, the apex body of some major civil society organisations of the valley people, has been spearheading the "alert campaign" with regard to the Naga peace talks, saying that there is a strong possibility to hurt the interests of Manipur in the event of resolving the Naga political issue.

The Committee had already announced to boycott the tourism festival saying that this not the time for festivals as "uncertainty and apprehension are running high in the state".

Meanwhile, the Manipur government and its Tourism department are preparing for the celebration of the festival in full swing.

To thwart any violent activity that may occur during the festival, police have been conducting cordon and search operations in localities in the vicinity of the festival venues.

The main events of the festival which is due to commence from November 24 till November 30 will be held at Hatta Kangjeibung in Imphal and at Keibul Lamjao National Park in Bishnupur district, the home to Sangai deer.

As part of the security measure, police commandos in Bishnupur district on Thursday conducted a cordon and search operations in some villages in the vicinity of the Keibul Lamjao where preparations for holding some main events of the festival are going on.

During the operations, police commandos picked up at least six individuals. They were handed over to Keibul police station for further verification, a police source said.

Police commandos in Imphal East district also conducted such cordon and search operations at Mahabali and Palace Gate, localities close to Hatta Kangjeibung where the main events including the inaugural function of the festival will be held.

The police commandos also conducted house to house search operations and eight individuals were picked up after they could not produce any document to establish their identities. They have been handed over to Porompat police station for further verification.