Shutdown call in Manipur

The murder of Muslim man in a UP village for allegedly eating beef had sparked national outrage. (HT File Photo)

A Muslim organisation’s refusal to bury a madrasa headmaster lynched on Monday for allegedly stealing cattle has put the Congress-led Manipur government in a fix.

The organisation has also sought the centre’s intervention in what it calls a Dadri-style killing besides calling for a state-wide shutdown on Thursday.

Md Hasmat Ali alias Babu, 55, was clobbered to death by a mob near a village in Manipur’s Imphal East district early Monday morning. Villagers had allegedly spotted him with a calf that went missing from one Khumallambam Brojen’s shed.

Ali’s body was taken to the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) in state capital Imphal for autopsy while the calf is being kept at the local Irilbung police station.

“Ali, a kind-hearted and honest teacher, was killed after being accused of a crime he could not have committed. The police know who his assailants are but are not taking action. We will not take his body from JNIMS for burial until justice is done,” Md Rajauddin, convenor of a joint action committee against Ali’s killing, told HT.

He added that the committee has called for a statewide shutdown on Thursday besides appealing to New Delhi for prodding the Manipur government into action.

A district police officer said tension prevailed in the Muslim-dominated Keirao Makting area of Imphal East district though the situation has been brought under control. Locals had tried to storm the Irilbung police station on Tuesday.

According to the 2011 census, Muslims account for 8.32% of Manipur’s population. A majority of them belong to the Pangal community, considered ethnic Muslims, dominating certain pockets of Imphal East and Thoubal districts.

Thoubal is also the home turf of Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh.

The Pangals and the majority Meiteis have co-existed uneasily in the state’s Imphal Valley since 1993 when a major communal riot claimed the lives of 150 people.

The riots led to the creation of several Islamist rebel groups, the most potent of which was People’s United Liberation Front (PULF). Another such group, the Islamic National Front, merged with PULF in 2007.