Damages in the streets of Manipur after the new clashes. Source: The New Indian Express.
Wednesday 24th May have been reported new clashes in Manipur, and the authorities have decided to reestablish all the curfew measures in the East Imphal, West Imphal and Bishnupur districts. At the same day one dead, two injured and presence of armed groups in several villages of Bishnupur district have been accounted. Also more torched houses have been reported. Meanwhile, the central government of the Indian State claims the situation is “returning to normal”. Despite this, during the week local media reports on more cases of shootings, therefore the Indian State has increased the police, military and paramilitary deployment in at least 38 places of the federal state of Manipur. At the same time, the authorities of Manipur keep on claiming that the number of dead people is around 60. But other sources, hospitals and media, are counting at least 74 dead people, according to the data of 17th May. We have already written about this uncontrolled situation in Manipur.
On the other hand, journalist associations denounce that the troops of Indian State are trying to silence those who are reporting about the riots in Manipur. For example, Monday 22th May, soldiers beat three journalists, Soram Inaoba, Nongthombam Johson and Brahmacharimayum Dayananda, who wanted to report about a new torching in the federal state. Regarding the repressive actions of the State, this is not an isolated fact: local media also reports that on Thursday 25th May, three paramilitary personnel of Rapid Action Force [RAF] set a meat shop on fire in Imphal, capital of Manipur.
Despite the increasing repression in Manipur, the people continue protesting actively against the actions of the government of federal state of Manipur and of the Indian State. Wednesday 24th May, the masses attacked the house of the Minister of Youth and Sports of the Federal state of Manipur, Konthoujam Govindas. Local media describes the action: “However, the minister and his family members were not present at the house when around 100 agitated people, mostly women, ransacked the house in Ningthoukhong Bazar area of Bishnupur district and damaged the gate, windows, a few furniture, electronic gadgets and vehicles parked at his residence.”
Another similar action was attempted to carry out on the Friday 26th against the house of the Minister of External Affairs and Education of the federal state of Manipur, Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, in the capital, Imphal. Thousands of people ignored the curfew and gathered in front of the house of the Minister in order to protest for the bad situation in Manipur. After these incidents, the minister has escaped from Manipur, traveling to New Delhi.
Regarding the control over the highways, the 15th May the reestablishment of the control in the highways and roads in Manipur was announced by the State. Despite this, during this week, it was reported that the blockades are still active and there is an uncontrolled increase of prices due to the low reserves and lack of import of them from outside of the federal state. Some basic products would cost the double of that before of the beginning of the conflict.
The Indian State is carrying on a brutal answer against all of these problems: since Saturday 27th May it is launching military operations dedicated to “check sporadic violence”. These operations have resulted in a big massacre of activists of the region: media reports about 33 people murdered by the troops and paramilitaries. Local sources add the following: “Sources said the number of casualties could be more as the combing operation was still on, particularly in the hill districts such as Kangpokpi, Churachandpur and Bishnupur, inhabited mostly by the Kukis.”
Meanwhile, the struggle continues in other places of India. During this week there have been reports of new actions against the Indian authorities. The actions are concentrated in a federal state where there is a big guerrilla presence, Chhattisgarh. Last week we wrote an article on the last guerrilla warfare actions in other federal states of India.
On one hand there are reports on local media about gunfire on the 21th May in the district of Bijapur, with two injured jawan [Author’s note: police officers] commandos of Cobra [Author’s note: Commando Battalion for Resolute Action – COBRA, an elite group of the Indian police, specialized in counter-insurgency].
On the other hand, in the district of Bastar the 29th May, Maoist guerrillas of the district have denounced the attempt of trick the tribal population of the district, by an agent of the State. The guerrilla members stated the following: “Is so-called social activist Shubhranshu Chowdhary a well-wisher of tribals or corporate companies? His campaign is sponsored by the Centre, state government and corporate. It will not succeed”. This man, who was a person in charge on the BBC and other media, is trying for years to end the guerrilla and they actions. He had also written a lot of letters and articles in order to demoralize and stop the guerrilla members. He even claimed that a peace process is needed quickly because if not, the Maoists “devolve into gangs led by their own commanders, how it was like in Afghanistan”, and this will end with a war between gangs and militias.