Featured image: people prevent the troops of the Indian State to follow their way in the Imphal Valley during the general strike conveyed there. Source: The Hindu
In the last week the Indian State had serious problems in Manipur. The State have been stating since long time ago that the situation is under control, but there has constantly appeared news of new armed clashes and protests of the masses. We have previously reported on this.
On Saturday the 5th of August three people were killed in Bishnupur district. After the murder there was a large demonstration of women demanding the end of the violence. Following the assassination it was reported that paramilitaries, pro-Government militias and State troops were missing. On the same day in West Imphal, two policemen were killed, several checkpoints of the repressive forces were attacked, and the government’s stockpiles of arms and ammunition were looted. The government of Manipur and the Indian State reacted with large repression, attacking with riot police and firing tear gas against a peaceful funeral of several Kuki peasants. More than 25 people were injured in this attack.
Also on Saturday 5th of August following the attacks in Bishnupur and West Imphal, there was a big clash in Bishnupur between groups armed with mortars, grenades and various guns. After the clashes, a total of six people were killed and 16 wounded. It was reported that armed forces abandoned several barracks near this place, and there were more patrols and shootings carried out by armed groups in other districts of Manipur.
There were also a lot of protests in several parts of Manipur this weekend: on Saturday 5th of August a general strike was called in the Imphal Valley, causing the closure of the vast majority of establishments, shops and businesses; blockings of roads and paths were also reported in the area by those who supported the strike, with burning tires and other forms of blockade. On the other hand, on Sunday 6th of August a crowd of people burned 15 houses and shot one person, and the people were dispersed later by the riot police. This also shows what the Indian State can do nowadays in Manipur: it can somehow react to the events, but it cannot prevent the action of the masses, nor can it solve the problems and establish order.
Faced with this total loss of control, the Indian State has decided to act in the only way it knows: by increasing its repressive efforts. It has decided to send more troops to Manipur, a total of ten other companies of border troops, paramilitary and police. The authorities of Manipur maintain the curfew in Imphal East and Imphal West, after having planned a possible reduction in security measures in these areas.