Shocks sharpens in Manipur

Featured Image: Police clash against the people in Pallel, Manipur. Source: Nagaland Post.

Even in the reactionary press, the situation in Manipur has get some attention in the world due to the uprising of the masses and the repression they have suffered. In addition, the clashes between the armed groups Meitei and Kuki have continued, leaving several dead along the way. We have already written about this before.

Map of the districts in the state of Manipur. Source: web The Wire.

The first big clashes have occurred between August 29th and 31th, leaving a total balance of eight people dead, and 18 injured, including three police officers. This is told to have happened after an armed confrontation between militias of the Meitei and Kuki peoples in the districts of Bishnupur and Churachandur. Some of these clashes were with heavy armament of infantry weapons such as mortars and machine guns.

In front of these clashes, the old Indian State has continued to act in the same way that it has done since the beginning of the Manipur crisis. On September 1st, the director of the Rifles of Assam (troops of the Ministry of Interior) said that the worst had already happened, that the cases of murders were reported and came only from some specific areas. But quickly it become evident that these statements were not real: on September 1st the Supreme Court admitted that the situation in Manipur was really bad, when he asked the federal government and the central government to guarantee the supply to the State of Manipur. This is because the blockages on the roads continue, and he affirmed that the arrival of food, medicines and other necessary goods is not assured. Even one of the senior judicial charges asked if the supplies can be done through air transport. Shortly after, on September 4th, representative organizations of the Kuki people reaffirmed their willingness to continue blocking the access roads to Manipur, so it is expected that the block will continue. This blockade has going on since the beginning of the riots at the beginning of May.

Another news that has been spread, is that since the beginning of the riots, 6,000 weapons were stolen from the stacks, armeries, barracks, etc., of the Indian state. Of these weapons, only around 1,800 have been recovered. So, after five months, there are still more than 4,000 firearms outside the control of the old Indian State, although other sources claim that stolen weapons were more, and that there are still 6,000 out of the control of the Indian State. The most serious looting was recently made, on August 4th, when about 500 armed people looted weapons used by the Indian Army: mortars, AK assault rifles, hand grenades, etc.

Despite the statements from Rifles of Assam, the old Indian State knows that the situation in Manipur is not under control, and has increased the militarization of the region and repression has been acute. First, it has sent a new military “advisor”, a retired colonel from the Armed Forces of the Indian State, known for carrying out attacks in Myanmar years ago. This colonel has been granted the position of Superintendent of the Manipur Police, so police ranges are militarized in the area. Second, a criminal case has been opened against the president and three other journalists members of the Editors Guild of India. These journalists have made a report on the Manipur situation, criticizing that the government has favored violence against the Kuki people, that the prohibition of accessing the Internet has worsened things, and that it has criminalized the peasantry of the Kuki people who wanted to have access to their lands.

In this last week the situation has become more tense and the old Indian state has increased its repressive efforts. In Kangvai, between the districts of Bishnupur and Churachandpur, between Wednesday and last Thursday hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the barricades and the security space created by the security forces of the Indian state. After trying to break the security barrier, the police attacked with massive violence, shooting tear gas, rubber balls, etc. In total, at least 90 injured and hospitalized people were counted. In turn, a curfew has been imposed on East Imphal, West Imphal, Kakching, Bishnupur and Churachandpur.

A large number of protesters clash with the police, which tries to prevent them from passing, in Kangvai on Wednesday, September 6th. Source: Hindustan Times

On the other hand, this last Friday a shooting broke out in Pallel, in the district of Tengnoupal. There were three killed people and more than 50 people injured, including four police officers. The confrontation began with a shooting against the police. After the beginning of this shooting, there was a great demonstration against the security forces of the Indian State, which was brutally repressed after, supposedly, someone from the crowd triggered the police. The police response left dozens of injured.

The situation in Manipur continues to develop in a similar way as we have stated before and even somethings that we have been warning about are now happening. While stating that the situation is under control, it sends military with experience in combat to take command of the police; In addition, it represses the manifestations resulting in huge amounts of injured. Despite this, the masses continue their protests and their fight, the blockages on the roads, the armament confiscations, and definitively, the masses are not close to stop their rebellion against the old Indian State.

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