Manipur students union calls for 100-hour blockade along NH-37

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Imphal Sep 7 : The All Manipur Students' Union on Friday called for a 100-hour blockade along the 222 km-long Imphal-Jiribam National Highway, starting from Saturday midnight, against the NSCN (IM) militants' alleged involvement in the beating of its activists and extortion of illegal taxes from them.

The AMSU rejected the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah)'s statement denying its involvement in the beatings and extortion and said the state government had failed to arrest the culprits within the 72-hour deadline.

The incident took place near Nungba in Tamenglong district along the NH-37 when some members of the students' union and singers were returning to Imphal after attending a function in Assam on Monday night. The students said they were stopped by NSCN (IM) militants and asked to pay illegal taxes. When they refused to pay, some of its members, including AMSU General Secretary S. Anil, were beaten up.

Later they were allowed to leave only after paying Rs 500 each as taxes, the students said.

The AMSU members on Friday burned the effigies of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, NSCN (IM) leader T. Muivah and Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren. They demanded the closure of the designated camps of the NSCN (IM).

Manipur Chief Minister Biren said they were trying to arrest the culprits whose actions might have led to communal tension. "Personnel of 57 Mountain Division and police commandos have been dispatched to Tamenglong to arrest the accused persons."

The NSCN (IM) has, however, denied any hand in the incident and said the imposters were subjected to interrogation.