STAFF REPORTER IMPHAL, 5th Feb:
Police resorted to mild baton charge to disperse newly recruited employees of Public Works Department (PWD) who tried to storm the assembly complex on Monday.
Even as the second day’s session of the assembly was in full swing, groups of PWD employees who have been launching agitation at their Khoyathong head office since January 31, trooped out from Thangmeiband Muchi Leirak and Watham Leirak around 11.30 am.
As the slogan shouting groups converged on the main road and were about to proceed to the assembly, police personnel, including the Imphal West district superintendent of police, deployed in the area attempted to impress upon the agitators to return back. However, the employees did not heed to the advice of the cops and tried to breach the police barricades consequently leading to the baton charge and arrest of 10 of the protesters.
The police also managed to herd away the remaining agitators from the spot.
Speaking to newspersons shortly after the protest demonstration, All Manipur Newly Appointed PWD Employees’ Association 2016-17 secretary Thangjam Shirjit informed that the association members decided to disrupt the assembly session after they were denied access into the Khoyathong office premises on Monday.
Though the employees have been airing their grievances in a peaceful and democratic manner for the last few days, the members felt hurt when security personnel manning the main gate barred them from getting into the office campus, he explained.
Reiterating the association’s demands that authorities concerned delete the ‘keep in abeyance’ tag from the freshly enrolled employees, allow them join the process of Manipur Government Employees’ List and release their pending salaries, Shirjit cautioned that more intense agitation would be launched in case their grievances are not addressed within short notice.
He also informed that 20 other association members were taken into police custody when they went to the police station to negotiate release of the 10 employees arrested earlier in the day.
The secretary also demanded unconditional release of all the detained members by Tuesday so as to avert unwanted consequences.