Imphal, May 18 (Calcutta Tube) A militant bomber was killed Tuesday in Manipur while trying to plant an explosive beneath a road bridge, officials said.
A police spokesperson said the blast took place over a bridge near Kangpokpi in Senapati district, about 40 km from state capital Imphal. One person was killed and his head was blown away in the impact of the explosion.
‘We suspect the person killed in the blast was the militant bomber who tried to plant the explosive to target the bridge, but probably something went wrong and the bomb went off,’ a senior police official said.
The identity of the victim was not immediately known.
The area where the explosion took place is a tribal Naga dominated region – the focal point of the ongoing tension in Manipur over the refusal by the state government to allow separatist leader Thuingaleng Muivah to visit his ancestral village in Manipur.
‘We suspect the blast could have been triggered by some Naga militant group to cut off road links between the rest of India and Manipur as a mark of protest,’ the official said.
Meanwhile, protests continued in Manipur – with both supporters and opponents of Muivah resorting to demonstrations and rallies in several parts of the state.
While Naga supporters are continuing with rallies and sit-in protests in Senapati, Ukhrul, and Tamenglong districts (all Naga dominated areas), the majority Metei in Manipur who are opposed to Muivah’s visit and support the state government’s stand have also resorted to similar protests.
‘If Muivah is allowed to visit his birthplace in Ukhrul district, the situation would worsen,’ B. Yaima, a Metei community leader, said.
Naga supporters of Muivah had enforced an indefinite economic blockade by stopping all trucks carrying essentials via National Highway 30, the main lifeline of Manipur, from entering the state. This has led to a severe food crisis in the state.
On May 6, three Muivah supporters were killed at the border town of Mao when police fired at protesters trying to let the Naga separatist leader enter Manipur forcibly despite a ban on his entry by the state government.