Gamblers of ‘Jhandi Munda (Langur Burja)’ locally known as ‘Lagao’, reportedly snatched an AK service rifle from a police personnel for allegedly snatching ‘Laiyum’ and dice of ‘Lagao’ at Khurai Lamlong in Imphal East late Monday around 8:30 pm.
As per a viral video, some police personnel are seen approaching a place where Lagao was played at Khurai Lamlong, asking the players to wind up the game. However, instead of stopping the game, one of the gamblers is seen asking for Rs 50 and continues playing the game.
Sources said that one of the police personnel assaulted the gamblers and snatched the dice while one of the gamblers snatched one service AK rifle from the police personnel. However, the rifle was later given back to the police personnel.
Porompat police told the Imphal Free Press that no case was registered in connection with the incident and no one was detained.
About a week before Diwali, the game of Lagao is played in almost every street or corner of Imphal City and its countryside even as police personnel conduct frequent drives against the game. The games usually continue late into the night once the police leave.
Mani (name changed) told the Imphal Free Press that for the past few days, some youths would come and play Lagao daily late into the night. Even the locals encourage Lagao though children are not encouraged. However, he said that it creates unwanted noise late into the night, he said, adding that even if they report to the police, they would not take action but collect tax instead and leave the scene.
He said the government should take necessary steps as Lagao is a type of gambling and is also illegal. If necessary, actions should be taken to ban Lagao to prevent any unwanted incidents, he added.
It is reported that similar cases are happening everywhere during the festival. On the day of Diwali festival, Lagao is openly played on the roadsides too.
In another interaction, Lagao gambler (host) told the Imphal Free Press that “there is no fear of police disturbing the game”. Instead, they have to ‘pay some little amount to please the police personnel’ who then leave without disturbing the game.
On the day of Diwali, police vehicles were seen parked near Lagao gambling places while the players were also seen enjoying the game without the fear of police stopping them.