Imphal, Dec 27: Okram Ibobi Singh led Congress to a third consecutive victory in Manipur and took the helm in 2012 which saw a rise in insurgent activities and as the year drew to a close, the death of a journalist in police firing during protests against the molestation of an actress flared up unrest in the state.
During a musical concert at Chandel, an NSCN-IM rebel molested the actress in public. This led to widespread protests in the state. During an indefinite strike called by a film body demanding arrest of the militant, a television reporter received bullet wounds in his chest when police opened fire to disperse some supporters.
This led to a tense situation in the state and curfew was clamped in the entire valley. The Manipur government declared the militant as wanted and announced an award of Rs 5 lakh on his whereabouts.
The year saw insurgent groups like UNLF, RPF, PREPAK, KYKL, KCP and UPPK, which had formed a coordination committee (CORCOM), planting several bombs in different parts of the state to attack security personnel.
The activities of CORCOM extended far beyond Imphal to Chandel hill district bordering Myanmar. The rebels also exploded a powerful bomb at an army office at M-Sector adjacent to Manipur Raj Bhavan in the heart of the town in September although there was no casualty.
According to officials, more than 20 insurgent groups are operating in Manipur. Security and other paramilitary forces were ambushed at different parts of the state by various insurgent groups, resulting in the death of at least 10 people.
The state cabinet decided to extend the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for more than a year from November 30. The ‘fast-unto-death’ by social activist Irom Sharmila against AFSPA entered the 12th year.
The year also witnessed factional fight among various militant groups, kidnapping persons by suspected militants for ransom, forcible recruitment of young children in the rank of militants or insurgents, frequent blockade on national highways by hill-based organisations to press various demands including formation of smaller states along ethnic lines, frequent non-publication of local dailies because of threats from militants, and surrender of militants.
On September 26, 114 rebels belonging to different groups surrendered before the chief minister along with huge cache of arms and ammunition.
Congress won a thumping majority with 42 seats in the 60-member Manipur assembly after the January 28 polls. Singh was sworn-in for the third term. PTI