From our Special Correspondent
IMPHAL, July 21: The 60-hour general strike called by the Joint Action Committee formed in connection with the disappearance of a contractor, Irengbam Irabanta began from his own residence on May 27, has begun since 5 am today. This is in protest against the abduction and detention of Irabanta, allegedly by the NSCN(IM), which has been holding talks with the Indian government for the last 14 years. However, the outfit has denied any hands in the contractor’s disappearance.
The bandh has affected normal life in the State since early morning with all State and inter- state buses and truck services being affected. Attendance in the government offices and schools was also thin as the employees and students could not go in view of the suspension of bus services.
Talking to reporters, Hidam Sila, convener of the Joint Action Committee said that there are definite evidences to establish that the NSCN(IM) had kidnapped Irabanta. She said that it is unfortunate that the NSCN(IM) has not disclosed whether he is still alive. One Winner Tangkhul of New Selen village took him away from his house on May 27, saying that the NSCN(IM) would like to talk to him about his contract works.
It was further disclosed that one Francis of the NSCN(IM), had sent an SMS to Modhubala, wife of Irabanta informing her that talks related to the contract works are progressing. Besides, Irabanta had also sent an SMS to this effect. This alone showed that the NSCN(IM) was behind the abduction and detention, she said. The Joint Action Committee is not happy with police for doing nothing to trace out the missing man. However, reports say that police had arrested the wife of one Ngairakpam Tangkhul, believed to be involved in the kidnapping.