Job card holders blocking road on the first day of 36-hour total shutdown call given by panchayat bodies

Normal life in rural areas across the five valley districts of Manipur was adversely affected as a 38-hour bandh imposed by elected functionaries of panchayati raj institutions (PRI) commenced on January 27 morning.

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The elected PRI functionaries imposed the bandh in protest against the non-release of funds including MGNREGA scheme to the PRIs by the state government. The bandh did not affect urban areas across the five valley districts. However, it badly affected normal life across the rural areas as job card holders supported the bandh.

Led by PRI functionaries, job card holders came out on the roads in their respective areas and enforced the bandh by blocking traffic, defying government’s order restricting mass gathering in the backdrop of ever surging cases of COVID-19 infection in the state.

Zilla Parishad members, pradhans and ward members led the job card holders in enforcing the bandh across the rural areas of six valley districts of Manipur –Imphal West, Imphal East, Thoubal, Bishnupur, Kakching and Jiribam districts. At some places, police did attempt to break the protesters from blocking roads using force. However, their bids were foiled as the protesters resumed blocking the road after the police left the spot.

Reports culled from different places said that the protesters shouted various slogans against the Manipur government whenever police arrived at the protest site.

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Except for heated exchange of words between the bandh supporters and people coming out for their unavoidable works and religious related ceremonies, no major untoward incident was reported during the bandh hours, reports said. Local shops and other business establishments were also forced to close down.

The protesters blocked roads by piling bamboos and logs. At some places, they burnt things on the roads to block the traffic.

The bandh is due to end at 6 pm on January 28.

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