IMPHAL, Oct 30: A second blast in the past 24 hours at Yaiskul area today has claimed the lives of two persons and left five injured with the incident evoking vehement condemnations from Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh, Deputy CM Gaikhangam, transport operators and the general public.
locals of the blast area also staged impromptu sit-in-demonstrations to condemn the blast at a public place. While today's blast, an IED explosion, is the fourth such incidents this month the previous ones had not caused major destruction of property or claimed human casualty, with the exception of the third blast yesterday morning at near Marwari Dharmashala in Thangal bazar which left five persons, including two students, injured.
According to police report today's blast occurred at around 6.24 am at a public bus waiting shed close to Hicham Yaicham Pat memorial site in Yaiskul Janmasthan.
The area also serves as the parking cum ticket counter for Moreh to Imphal Maruti Van transport operators and both the victims are said to be operators of Maruti van passenger carriers.
The explosion occurred in between the parking lot and the ticket counter. The immediate impact reportedly injured seven persons, out of whom van operator Leishangthem Brojen (35) s/o Shitol from Andro, but presently a resident of Palace Gate, passed away on the way to RIMS Hospital.
A second van operator namely Holnung Toulthang (42) s/o Tolkhonthang of Bijang village in Sugnu assembly constituency, but was staying at Langol Games Village, succumbed to injuries after sometime at RIMS Hospital. The injured five have been identified as (van owner/driver) Laishram Rajen (48) s/o Jatra of Kakwa Naorem Leikai, van operator Wairokpam Obidiya (36) s/o (L) Bijoy of (Wangoi) Thounaojam Mayai Leikai, deceased Brojen's room-mate Robert Baite (31) s/o Jangkholun from Terakhong near Churachandpur, milk distributor (at ticket counter) Shamom Naoba alias Bikram (28) s/o Shyamkanhai of Yaiskul Janmasthan and passenger Suyam Baite (66) s/o (L) Chongkhothang of Moreh Ward No 1.
While all five were rushed to RIMS Hospital, Rajen has been shifted to Shija Hospitals as his condition was stated to be critical and till the time of filing this report the exact status of his state was unclear.
The blast impact also caused severe damage to his Maruti van. Strongly condemning the blast, All Manipur Road Transport Drivers and Motor Workers' Union, JAC Imphal Moreh Road Transporters and Drivers' Union demanded clarification by all concerned at the earliest.
A joint meeting of the transport operators held this morning also conveyed solidarity to the suffering of the bereaved families. Referring to the recent blasts that occurred at near the northern gate of Kangla and at Thangal Bazar areas as well as today's explosion at Hicham Yaicham Pat, a statement of condemnation issued by the Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh said such unwanted incidents are not only blots or tarnish image of Manipur but also impede State's over all progress.
Stating that such cruel acts targeting innocent citizens are against the State's or national interest, Ibobi asserted that there would be no leniency against perpetrators of such crimes as the Government of committed to ensuring befitting punishment under the law of the land.
Later in the afternoon the CM called on the Governor Ashwani Kumar at Raj Bhavan during which detailed report on the blasts and security measures being initiated by the State Government were placed before the Governor.
The CM's visit lasting about 30 minutes is also said to have figured forthcoming arrival of the top Chinese and Myanmarese officials in the State for the upcoming Manipur Sangai Festival. O Ibobi is said to have discussed with the Governor on accommodating the visiting dignitaries at the Raj Bhavan. Describing the blasts as act of cowardice, Deputy CM Gaikhangam also strongly condemned today's incident.
Apart from personally assessing the blast site, the Home Minister also enquired about the conditions of the injured persons at RIMS Hospital. Gaikhangam also extended Rs 5000 assistance to each of the injured persons' family members to meet immediate expenses. It is informed that the CM and DyCM held meetings with police and security officials to discuss the latest situation. all police and security posts in the twin capital districts of Imphal East and Imphal West have reportedly been asked to step up patrolling and checking of suspected persons to intercept the movement of militants.
Among others ADGP LM Khaute, DIG Clay Khongsai and senior police officers inspected the blast site, where a 3-feet wide and depth of similar size could be spotted.
The blast impact not only mangled the seating portion and roof section of the bus shed also caused partial destruction to the ticket counter. bomb experts confirmed today's blast to be splintered-filled IED. While a picket of Manipur Rifles are stationed across the road at Krishna Premi fuel outlet from the site of the blast, some important and highly sensitive Government institutions including the Civil Secretariat complex, Imphal West and Manipur Police headquarters are located about 150-200 metres from the blast site on the northern direction.
This month alone IED explosions occurred at North AOC (Oct 26), MG Avenue near Major Khul gate (Oct 18) and Marwari Dharmashala (Oct 29), the third leaving five injured with varying degrees. While the proscribed UNLF claimed the North AOC blast there is no information or claim about the other blasts. Meanwhile, Yaiskul area locals staged sit-in-demonstrations at two separate places near the blast site from early morning during which shopkeepers of the area also downed shutters.
Speaking to newspersons on the sidelines of the protest demonstration, a woman protestors strongly condemning that blast said that the area is not a parking place but frequented by people of all ages for morning walk jogging. Expressing shock and dismay for causing human tragedy, the elderly woman opined that such inhuman act could be carried out only by cowards and uncivilised elements.
Conveying solidarity to those sisters whose brothers were among the victims or laying injured at Hospital, she said the blast occurring with the Ningol Chakkouba and kut festivals just round the corner deserves to be condemned in the strongest term. The protest demonstrations were staged at Yaiskul Janmasthan and Krishna Premi Oil city.
On the otherhand, State unit Janata Dal (United) president M Tombi condemning the blast urged the Government to ensure that the victims' families as well as the injured persons are extended all possible financial assistance. Speaking to newspersons at its Babupara office today, Tombi also urged to clemency against one Lalli Deb of Kakhulong, who is accused of killing one Satendra Prasad in retaliation action when the latter tried to outrage Lalli Deb's modesty.