India: More casualties for the State in Manipur – Struggle continues

Arson and riots at the end of June in the district of Kangpokpi, Manipur. Source: NDTV.

The struggle continues and is sharpening and extending to other parts of the State of Manipur. There are reports of new casualties in several districts among the troops of the Indian State in Manipur. This struggle is for the land, between two sides: on the one hand the peasantry, most of them from the Kuki and Naga tribes; on the other hand the bureaucratic capitalist class and landlords, who control the State of Manipur and are mostly from the Meitei tribe. We have reported on this earlier.

The deployment of troops has kept increasing since May, and currently there are around 40.000 troops including soldiers and Assam Rifles, troops of the Ministry of Interior. Besides that, the State of Manipur has deployed around 45.000 police agents. The Indian State is planning to increase the number of troops in this territory after the elections in West Bengal.

Map of the districts of the State of Manipur. Source: website The Wire.

The people of Manipur have faced this military deployment and the State repression with increasing the struggle. For example, on the 29th of June, the police murdered two activists, and after that, their families and other demonstrators made an spontaneous demonstration carrying the bodies of the dead to the house of the Prime Minister of Manipur, Biren N Singh. The police dissolved the demonstration with tear gas. After this, the clashes with the Indian State have been increased: on the 30th of June, a police officer was killed in a gunfight in Haraothel, district of Kangpokpi; on the 4th of July, a crowd of people tried to assault a military base in the district of Thoubal and take the weapons there, resulting in one soldier of the Assam Rifles injured and one of the vehicles torched; after the assault, on the 5th of July, the house of a soldier was torched in the same district by a new spontaneous mobilization of 700-800 people.

After the increasing of the struggle and the persistence of the masses facing the repression of the Indian State, Yankee imperialism through its ambassador in India, Eric Garcetti, stated on the 6th of July: “When you ask us about the concern of the United States, I don’t think it’s a strategic concern. I think it’s about human concern. (…) We stand ready to assist in any ways if asked. We know it’s an Indian matter and we pray for peace and that it may come quickly. Because we can bring more collaboration, more projects, more investment if that peace is in place. One very clear message I want to send — the east of India and the northeast of India matters to the United States. Its people, its places, its potential and its future matter to us.” From the statement, it is clear that what the US cares about is safeguarding its interests in the area and it is proposing in a veiled way the possibility of a US military intervention.

In the last week, the struggle is sharpening in the district of Bishnupur: on the evening on the Friday 7th of July, a police commando was killed in a gunfight with armed groups; on the Saturday 8th of July a bomb explosion and a gunfight were reported, resulting in one police injured in a village of the same district; also similarly on Saturday, there were several spontaneous mobilizations of several hundreds of people who burned several vehicles, tried to loot police arsenals and faced the troops of the Indian State in other village of the same district.

The Indian State claims that the “situation is tense in some parts of Manipur, but normal in most of the districts”. However, the State also decided put personal security in seven districts of Manipur (there are 16 districts in the State of Manipur) to protect the the part of peasantry who is working and collaborating with the State of Manipur, because they cannot guarantee their security. Besides that, the return of all the students to the schools is not fully done, despite the governmental order of reopening all the schools since the 5th of July.

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