Imphal, Oct 15 (IANS) Normal life in Manipur came to a standstill Monday during an 18-hour general strike called by seven separatist outfits.
The Coordination Committee (CorCom), an umbrella group of seven major separatist outfits in Manipur who are fighting for an independent state for the majority Meitei community in the state, had called for an 18-hour general strike starting Oct 14 midnight.
The outfits are protesting the erstwhile princely state of Manipur's merger agreement with the Indian Union 63 years ago.
Manipur joined the Union of India in October 1949 after a merger agreement was signed between the government of India and the then maharaja of Manipur on Sep 21, 1949, which came into force Oct 15, 1949.
"No untoward incident has been reported from anywhere in the state till this hour," Director General of Police Y. Joykumar Singh told IANS.
Almost all government establishments, including financial and educational institutions, remained shut and roads were deserted throughout the state during the shutdown, which will last till 6 p.m. Monday.
Almost all ministers and senior government officials have attended to their duties, Singh said. "Total 50 to 60 per cent attendance is expected to be recorded," the police chief added.
The state-run transport services of Manipur State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) and Nagaland State Transport (NST) and other private inter-state bus transport service were suspended.
The central government had sounded a security alert in Manipur about possible terror strikes in view of the general strike.
"There is a possibility of the rebels attacking security forces to prove their strength. Therefore, we have sounded a security alert to all our forces. But we are ready to meet any eventuality," Imphal West district police chief Konsam Jayanta Singh told IANS.
More than 5,000 security personnel, including from Manipur Police, the army, Assam Rifles and other central paramilitary forces, have been pressed into service to thwart any untoward incident during the general strike.
In the last few months, rebel groups have triggered over 20 improvised explosive device (IED) blasts, killing and injuring security forces and civilians.
There are more than 20 rebel armies active in Manipur, a state bordering Myanmar, with demands ranging from secession to greater autonomy.