G Vinayak in Imphal
Manipur Assembly Speaker Sapam Dhananjoy Singh and four as yet unidentified members of the legislative assembly were critically injured after they were caught inside the assembly building which was set afire by a rampaging mob in Imphal on Monday morning.
The mob was protesting against the Centre's decision to extend the ceasefire with rebels of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah faction) to other parts of the Northeast.
Sketchy reports from the Manipur capital said the state administration had clamped an indefinite curfew and issued shoot-at-sight orders in Greater Imphal from 1300 IST after the protesters went out of control, setting fire to government property and political party headquarters.
The reports said the assembly secretariat, the chief minister's secretariat and headquarters of the Manipur People's Party, Manipur State Congress Party and the Congress were set on fire.
The trouble began around 1000 IST when a crowd of protestors burnt effigies of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Home Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani and NSCN leader Thuingaleng Muivah.
When police fired teargas shells, the crowd ran into the assembly secretariat and set fire to the building.
The exact details of the incident are still awaited. Journalists' movements in Imphal have also been restricted.
The speaker and the four MLAs have been rushed to the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal, in a critical condition, initial reports said.
Neither Governor Ved Marwah nor his recently appointed advisers, K Kipjen and E N Rammohan, were available on the phone. None of the other officials contacted were willing to divulge any information.
Paramilitary forces like the Central Reserve Police Force along with personnel of the Manipur Rifles are out on the streets in full strength.
According to eyewitness reports, most of the thoroughfares in the city are littered with burning tyres, vehicles and effigies left behind by the rampaging mob.
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