IMPHAL, Mar 8: With a daring grenade attack at the State Assembly today, the whole security arrangement in the capital city and the administrative headquarters have been reduced to a farce today.
Amidst the numerous security personnel deployed in the Imphal city, more particularly in the surrounding areas of the Assembly building since the Assembly session began on February 20, some unidentified persons lobbed a country made hand grenade at the State Assembly at about 11.45 this morning.
However, there was no human casualty in the attack even as the grenade exploded at the VIP lounge of the Assembly building, said police sources.
As there is no session today, none of the Ministers and MLAs were present in the Assembly other than a few officials at the time of the explosion .
According to police sources, the grenade was hurled from the opposite side of the VIP gate of the Assembly building.
The VIP gate is used only by the Governor, the Chief Minister and the Speaker for entry and exit from the Assembly premises.
At the time of the attack, there was no security personnel in the security tower located just beside the VIP gate even though it was closed today.
While personnel of the 1st IRB have been looking after the security arrangement of the Assembly building, personnel of 8th Bn CRPF E-Coy are being stationed in Tombisana High School located just opposite to the Assembly building to strengthen the security arrangement.
Unlike the previous days when entry of vehicles in the Assembly road was prevented, there was no such restriction today as there was no Assembly session.
Police have recovered the pin of the grenade from a spot about 10 feet away from the VIP gate. In addition, some splinters were also recovered from the blast site.
As Speaker S Budhichandra and top police officials including DGP Y Joykumar rushed to the site on receiving information of the attack, police commandos sealed all entry and exit points of the Imphal city.
This was followed by a thorough frisking and checking of all the individuals coming out from the Bazar at the exit points.
Soon after the blast, the Assembly road was closed and parking lots in front of the GM Hall and the Speaker’s bungalow were cleared off all vehicles.
Reacting to the blast, Speaker Dr S Budhichandra said that the attack was hard to imagine. Terming it unfortunate, the Speaker said that he had no idea as to the possible motive of the attack.
He informed that the attack will be delivered in the State Assembly on Monday.
Veteran MPP leader O Joy observed that the attack on State Assembly which is the centre of parliamentary democracy is most unfortunate. While strongly condemning the attack, he also hinted at some lapses in the security arrangement.
MLA Dr I Ibohalbi termed the attack as an act of cowardice. He called upon all to keep the State Assembly safe as it is the highest place to ‘correct all the wrongs and set things rights’.
MLA E Kunjeshore also strongly condemned the attack saying that it was destructive. MLA Th Lokeshore too condemned the blast.
On the other hand, DGP Y Joykumar only said that security arrangement has been strengthened.
Imphal West SP Clay Khongsai informed that a thorough cordon and search operation has been launched in the aftermath of the attack.
At the time of the blast, Chief Minister O Ibobi was away at Senapati to lay foundation stone for a district sports complex.
The sangai Express
Assembly comes under bomb attack, but tragedy averted, Major lapse, says Cabinet; Top heads roll in police set up
By : A Staff Reporter 3/9/2008 2:40:51 AM
IMPHAL, Mar 8: Manipur Legislative Assembly was under attack Saturday by suspected underground cadres by hurling and exploding a hand grenade at the edge of the VIP gate.
A street lamp at the Assembly complex was shattered by the impact of the blast, however, there were no casualties.
The explosion at the drain near the entrance of the Assembly building took place at 11.45 am and it shook the police top brass especially as the blast came during the budget session.
However tragedy was averted as there was no sitting today on account of second Saturday.
Police suspect the bomb was lobbed from the direction of the bylane adjacent to the office of the Manipur Students’ Federation as security personnel, both civil police and 1st IRB personnel, were on duty around the Assembly building as usual at the time.
A CRPF post is also located at Tombisana High School opposite to the MSF office, but according to witnesses, the personnel merely peered out of their post and did not come out when the loud report came.
Soon after the explosion of the bomb, DGP Y Joykumar, Imphal West SP Clay Khongsai and other top ranking police officials conducted a spot enquiry and found lapses on the part of the armed security personnel of 1st IRB deployed at the building.
The guard commander subedar M Manglem for instance was found absent from duty at the time of the explosion.
Police commandos of Imphal West in the wake of the explosion swiftly conducted a search operation in and around the Assembly building and many youths were detained along the roads, including nine members of the MSF led by its vice president.
One of the MSF volunteers who ran out from his office soon after hearing the explosion mentioned that he along with two of the volunteers of MSF went out for closer inspection after the blast and were surprised to find the total absence of security personnel near the Assembly gate.
Following the information of the attack on the Assembly, Speaker Dr. S Budhichandra, senior MLA O Joy, MLA Dr. I Ibohalbi and Congress MLA Bijoy Koijam also visited the blast site where they condemned the blast saying that the attack on the highest democratic institution of the state was very unfortunate and was to be taken as one of the biggest violent acts by those responsible for it.
Later, security around the state Assembly was beefed up from this afternoon. On the other hand, the entire 1st IRB personnel deployed at the Assembly building are likely to be kept under suspension, according to a highly placed official source.
Further, in an emergency meeting of the state Cabinet held in the evening at the chief minister’s bungalow the matter of the bomb blast was discussed elaborately. The meeting felt that there was a total lapse on the part of the security resulting in the blast. The Cabinet decided to put L Deven, inspector OC Traffic police Imphal and L Birbabu, MPS, DSP traffic Imphal under suspension. It also suspended four other personnel including one home guard.
The Cabinet meeting further condemned the attack terming it as an terrorist action and decided to take stern action against such acts. The Cabinet also appealed to the public to stay away from such terrorists and to cooperate with the government in eliminating such elements from society.
It may be mentiuoned that for the protection of the state Assembly building a total of 13 personnel of 1st IRB under the command of one subedar had been deployed along with a number of police CIDs besides one company of 8Bn CRPF which was kept attached at the campus of Tombisana High school and the blast at the main VIP entrance of the state Assembly amidst the budget session was termed as one of the major lapses on the side of the security forces.
Imphal Free Press