Women of the people block the road between Khamenlok and Govajang, in East Imphal, Manipur. Source: Hindustan Times.
After more than a month of clashes in Manipur, the Indian State continue lacking control the situation in the federal State. We have reported on this situation before. The 10th of June there have been reported new blockades of the NH2 highway, a fundamental road between Manipur and the other part of the Indian State. This blockade was made by the Committee on Tribal Unity (COTU) after the murder of several people in a village.
There were also a lot of gunfights in the last three days. On Monday there was a gunfight between armed groups, and there was also another one on Tuesday. Regarding the gunfight of Monday, at first three injured people were reported, but the number has now increased to nine injured. This battle occurred in Khamenlok, East Imphal. The strength of these groups seems to be considerable, because in this clash, one group set fire to a handmade bunker and a watch tower of the other armed group.
On the same Monday, another gunfight took place in the village of Govindpur, in the district of Bishnupur. An armed group was trying to fortify their village, when the security forces of the State tried to stop them. Then, began the fight. The death toll of the clashes of these two past days is 11 dead and 14 injured people.
Besides these gunfights, the Indian State and the government of Manipur are facing many other mobilizations of the people. The night of the Wednesday 14th of June, a group torched the main residence of a Minister of the government of Manipur. The day after the gunfights in East Imphal, the 15th of June a group of hundreds of people lead by elder women blocked several roads for arriving to Khamenlok, stopping the arrival of Indian military and paramilitary personnel to this village.
The Indian State and the government of Manipur have tried to control the situation with several measures. Some of them were already applied, like extending the ban of accessing the Internet until 15th of June. The ban has been ongoing since 4th of May and has been extended multiple times. Another measure which is maintained is the curfew, which is still ongoing in 11 of the 16 districts of Manipur.
Another measure of the Indian State has been the creation of a “Peace Committee”, ruled by the Indian State with the goal of lowering the tensions and disarming the armed groups in Manipur. This project is facing serious problems because the Indian State wanted the inclusion of the Prime Minister of Manipur, Biren Singh, in the committee. The groups which are gathering parts of the peasantry, belonging to the Kuki tribe rejected the inclusion of the Prime Minister into the committee, while the bureaucratic bourgeoisie, belonging to the Meitei group, welcomed this inclusion. The clashes were initiated when the recognition of the Meitei group as a tribal group with the support of the Indian State was announced. With this recognition, this group would legally be able to take the lands of other tribal groups like the Kuki. At this moment, the “Peace Committee” it is not even functioning.