75 pharmacies functioning in Porompat, Imphal have become the latest victims of monetary demands by militants.
Two militant outfits, KCP (MC) Lanheiba and People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) have demanded Rs.4000 and Rs.200 respectively, per month from these pharmacies in and around the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital.
Condemning the extortion demands made by the militants, pharmacists under the banner 'JN Hospital Pharmacy Association' recently staged a sit-in-protest.
"Our incomes are not very high. Even then, militants are pressurizing us to give them money. We are suffering at their hands," Chandra said.
Unable to work under threats, the pharmacies complain that they have to resort to keeping the shops shut.
"We need to work for our livelihood. We don't have other options, but to keep our business going, even if they threaten or demand money from us. How will we earn our livelihoods, if we stop working? We won't give in to their demands," R. K. Bijoykumar, a pharmacist.
Patients were also facing difficulties in procuring life saving drugs as pharmacies are closed and many claimed that if the situation were not resolved at the earliest, it would lead to a major crisis.
"Militants are creating unnecessary problems. We are not able to buy medicines easily. During emergency cases, we don't get medicines in time as pharmacies are shut down. People find it hard to get life saving medicines due to the closure of pharmacies," said Pinky, a citizen.