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Deceptive calm prevails in Manipur amidst reports of sporadic violence


Relief efforts are on full swing with various civil society organisations, volunteers and clubs in collaboration with district administrations.  

TFM Report

Deceptive calm prevails over Manipur in the past ten days with reports of violence, arson and mayhem in Manipur emerging from various districts of Manipur, particularly from areas dominated by Kukis and Meiteis.

Relief efforts are on full swing with various civil society organisations, volunteers and clubs in collaboration with district administrations.  

Amid sporadic incidents of violence, the Manipur government on Friday further suspended internet services for five more days with immediate effect. An order issued by the Home Department of Manipur stated the decision was taken in view of some reports of violence and in order to “thwart the design and activities of anti-national and anti-social elements” who might use social media for transmission of images and hate speech “inciting the passions of the public”.

However, the overall situation in Manipur remained calm with no major incident of violence being reported. However, there are reports of sporadic violent incidents took place in some of the areas.

The relative calm can be attributed to the arrival of Army personnel, Assam Rifles and Rapid Action Force. Local police personnel are also reported to have moved into areas considered sensitive.

With indefinite curfew was imposed in Meitei dominated Imphal West, Kakching, Thoubal, Jiribam, Imphal East and Bishnupur districts, as well as in Kuki dominated Kangpokpi, Tengnoupal and Churachanpur districts, tension still prevails.

Incidents of arson, mob violence and killings that have hogged prime time news, national and internal news headlines stemmed from a clash between the Kuki-Zo and Meitei communities. The violent incident have left over scores dead, maimed and displaced.

Buildings, homes and other property including vehicles, have been destroyed in the violence between communities. The maximum brunt of the violence in the Churachandpur, Tengnoupal and Kangpokpi districts belong to the Meitei community. While the victims in in the Imphal valley and its peripheries. Same turmoil was reported from the border town of Moreh in Tengnoupal district, where many Meitei houses were set on fire. Some Meitei people fled to Myanmar and some took shelter at Moreh para-military camp.

The Indian Army has deployed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to keep an eye on sensitive areas in Manipur as the authorities work to restore normalcy in the violence-hit areas of the states.

There is no official confirmation of the number of fatalities as yet, though the security advisor of the state said that there was a report of 71 death cases, among them 41 are due to violence and others have died due to other causes.

Many of the survivors have been evacuated by security forces and have been placed at various relief camps both in the valley and the hills. As of now, 45,000 stranded people have been shifted to safe homes or shelters.

Violence and deceptive Calm

According to police sources, an armed mob in the Torbung area of Churachandpur district attacked the Meitei community and burnt their houses and properties during May 3 marches. This led to retaliatory attacks in the valley districts. Many shops and houses in Churachanpur were vandalized and gutted in violence.

An Assam Rifles soldier was injured while trying to defuse an improvised explosive device in Manipur’s Bishnupur district on Friday. A policeman was killed and six others were injured when armed Kuki militants fired at them in areas sandwiched between Henglep Assembly constituency and Morang Assembly Constituency (Tera Khongsangbi) area of Bishnupur district.

Meanwhile, a soldier of the Assam Rifles sustained minor injuries while defusing an improvised bomb near Saiton village in Manipur’s Bishnupur district, bordering Churachandpur district on Friday morning. According to a defence spokesperson, the crude bomb was locally fabricated and the soldier was trying to defuse it when it exploded.

In between, arms and ammunition were snatched from different police stations by a team of miscreants. The state advisor said that out of snatched arms and ammunitions, 423 arms and 6697 ammunitions have recovered.

Curfew was relaxed in various districts with many people coming out for normal activities from May 9. The state information minister informed through media that relief measures and monitoring is continuing at the highest level. UAV surveillance and helicopters for aerial surveillance are working relentlessly to restore normalcy in the state.

The government is taking relief measures, which are being monitored at the highest level.

Weapons snatched

A total of 1,041 weapons and 7,460 ammunition were snatched from the security forces by the miscreants. Out of it, recovered 423 arms and 6697 ammunition has been made, and a total of 339 cases have been registered.

The state government has urged political parties not to play politics at this juncture and to focus on helping the people of Manipur. 

 “We are verifying whether the cadres of such insurgent groups are lodged in the designated camps or not. An inspection of their weapons is also being done,” said security advisor Kuldeep.

The security advisor said that search and inspection at the 14 designated camps of different militant outfits under tripartite suspension of operation (SoO) was in progress.

“The inspection in designated camps is in progress and fewer arms and ammunition are found in two designated camps. Details are being examined,” the security advisor said. He claimed that the law and order in the state was slowly improving and the curfew was relaxed for seven hours in almost all the districts under prohibitory orders.

Around 45,000 people displaced by the violence conflict have been evacuated and they have been sent to their respective houses and safer places, he said.

No extra flights to move people from outside the state operated for the day and no one was stranded at the Imphal airport, he said. So far, 2,759 people, mainly students, have left Manipur by air following the violence conflict, he added.
Relief measures continue to be taken up and are being monitored at the highest level, the security advisor informed.

The clash between Meitei and Kuki-Zomi begun on May 3, after the All Manipur Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM) held a solidarity march in all districts opposing the recent Manipur High Court order, which had asked the Manipur state government to send a recommendation to the centre regarding the demand to include the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list.

As the violence escalated, the centre invoked Article 355 of the constitution to take necessary steps to protect a state against external aggression or internal disturbance. The internet has shut down across the state to prevent spreading rumours. Curfews had been imposed, even the district magistrates were authorized by the Manipur government to issue shoot-at-sight orders.

The members of the Meitei community, who account for 60% of the state’s population, are largely concentrated in the Imphal Valley. The community claims that it faces difficulties due to large-scale illegal immigration by Myanmarese and Bangladeshi nationals. The Meiteis are not allowed to settle in the state’s hilly areas as per laws.

The tribal hill districts of Manipur enjoy special protections under Article 371C of the Constitution that says that all laws affecting the districts must be vetted by the hill areas committee of the Manipur Legislative Assembly.

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