Violence unabated in Manipur, 3 killed
Clashes first broke out on May 3 after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
GUWAHATI: In strife-torn Manipur, three persons were killed while three others were injured on Monday. Official sources said the incident occurred at Phayeng in Imphal West district when suspected Kuki militants opened fire. One person was killed there on May 28 in a similar attack. In another incident on Sunday, a mob reportedly killed three persons travelling in two vehicles, including an ambulance, at Iroisemba in Imphal West district. The report could not be officially confirmed.
The violence has more or less subsided everywhere, except Imphal West and Kakching districts. In the past two days, combined teams of Manipur Police commandos and Border Security Force destroyed two camps of Kuki militants near Sugnu and Serou in Kakching district after fierce gunfights and drove away the rebels, official sources said. There have been some incidents in the two places since May 28 when militants came down the hills, torched houses and opened fire on villagers. Some people had lost their lives.
Meanwhile, some Kuki groups lifted the blockade on National Highway-II, which enters Manipur from Nagaland, for seven days in response to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s call but with a rider that vehicles carrying essential commodities and medicines should be escorted by Central forces.
According to local media reports on Monday, a mob attacked the houses of two tribal leaders in protest against the withdrawal of the blockade. Shah has invited the state’s all 10 Naga MLAs, including three from BJP, to Delhi for a meeting. It is likely to take place on Tuesday. The Nagas have remained neutral in the conflict between Meiteis and Kukis.
At least 98 people have died and over 300 are injured in the ethnic violence in Manipur that broke out a month ago. A total of 37,450 people are currently sheltered in 272 relief camps. Clashes first broke out on May 3 after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. Meiteis account for about 53% of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribal Nagas and Kukis constitute another 40% of the population and reside in the hill districts. Around 10,000 Army and Assam Rifles personnel have been deployed in the state to bring back peace.