Militant suspects on Sunday morning set on fire a cement carrying truck engaged in construction of Imphal-Jiribam railway project, along the National Highway-37 in Noney district of Manipur.
Police said the truck was set ablaze by three unknown persons around 10.30 am while the truck was heading towards a tunnel construction site near Noney district headquarters. The miscreants waylaid the truck between Irang bridge and Awangkhul-2 under the jurisdiction of Noney police station about 92 km away from Imphal and set on fire the truck without further warning, said Luikham, Additional SP Noney police station.
Even as the truck was badly damaged by the fire, the occupants of the truck escaped without any injury in the arson attack, he added. The Additional SP further informed that the arson attack was carried out hill based militant group as extortion threat to companies involved in the construction of the railway line.
While it is yet to be clear which group was behind Sunday’s arson attack, the Noney police has registered a case in connection with the incident. The execution of the 110.62 Kms long Jiribam-Imphal railway began which began in 2004, is reportedly running behind scheduled due to constant disturbances from militant groups operating in the state. Union Minister of state (Railway) Rajen Gohein, during his 2016 visit in Manipur sets the target for completion of the railway project by 2018 but it has been extended to December 2020.
It is learnt that altogether 14 cases of abduction and shooting of people engaged in the railway project were reported during the last one year. Altogether 1500 personnel of Assam Rifles, Manipur Rifles, IRB, State police and Railway Protection Force have been guarding the project.
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