Imphal, Jan 23 (IANS) BJP legislator Khumukcham Joykishan was arrested on Saturday morning from Thangal market here for violating a curfew which was clamped in some places in the town on Friday night.
As he was being whisked away, his supporters pelted stones, prompting the police to fire tear gas canisters. Two persons sustained injuries.
Joykishan and activists from Thangmeiband constituency, which he represents, have been protesting against the construction of a temporary market in the busy Thangal street.
The MLA told reporters that the market would be constructed over his dead body.
He said the market could have been constructed at the blocked old Assembly road. The government has depicted him as the opposition MLA who is obstructing the government works.
“I am the representative of the people and I am doing my job,” Joykishan said before being whisked away in a police jeep.
Manipur’s Education Minister Moirangthem Okendra said on Friday that the government was determined to complete the construction of the temporary market at Thangal street.
“It is unfortunate that the BJP MLA did not seek information from the government before launching the agitation on January 16,” Okendra said.
The minister said that 1872 women vendors had to be provided shops since two marketing complexes were damaged in the January 4 earthquake.
The larger plan is to construct a market complex with 500 shops each at Purana market and Temporary market in addition to Thangal street.
“Since a 15 ft space is left in the middle of the street there will be no problem for fire tenders and private vehicles”, Okendra added.
The government is seeking cooperation of all sections of society for its plan while taking action against those opposed to the construction of the market.
The Imphal West district magistrate Ningthoujam Geofry clamped the curfew on three places where the MLA and his supporters were likely to travel.
There was no restriction in other parts of the town. In fact the dress rehearsal for the Republic day parade was held in another part of the town. There was unfettered traffic also. However, in the morning police did restrict the movements of reporters and lensmen.
All shops, business establishments and schools are closed in the affected areas.
Meanwhile, more and more NGOs are condemning the “mad” plan of constructing the market on the busy street. Local media have also advised the government to drop the ongoing construction works.