Manipur: general strikes and new attack against the house of a minister

Featured: Commemoration in Kangpokpi on the anniversary of the beginning of the struggle in Manipur. Source: Trend Radars.

On the 9th of October, Manipur once again appeared in the news throughout India and in many other countries when there was a new attack against a house of a Manipur minister from the BJP, Yumnam Khemchand. At the beginning of the month there was a similar action against the house of the Chief Minister of Manipur, on which we already reported previously. In this attack, a frag-grenade was thrown at the house by motorists, leaving two injured in the action: a CRPF paramilitary and a relative of the minister. This action occurred in Imphal West on the night of Saturday 7th of October.

Armed actions are continuing in Manipur during these weeks: on the 12th of October, a gunfight was carried out by armed groups against a village, while the repressive forces of the old Indian State were in the area trying to recover looted weapons. These kind of operations are frequently done by armed groups, which also harass the repressive forces of the old Indian State. Indian troops and police are constantly searching for weapons but they are only able to recover small amounts of weapons. It is worth mentioning that in September, the number of looted weapons was almost 6,000 and the repressive forces had recovered less than 1,500.

Other armed actions have continued to occur, and there are constantly large groups of armed elements moving without the repressive forces being able to prevent them. For example, on Saturday 14th of October it was reported that dozens of armed elements on motorcycles attacked some villages in Imphal West. In total after several shootings there were five injured. The old Indian State has faced the situation by increasing censorship: on 11th of October the government of Manipur forbade sharing of images and videos of violent events, stating that they could provoke protesters and mobs. Also the general ban on Internet access has also been extended until at least 21st of October.

On the other hand, the old Indian State is carrying out a criminal investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), trying to link the protests of the people of Manipur with an alleged terrorist organization from Myanmar. The NIA has been the protagonist of all the police actions that the Indian ruling classes have carried out against the people, and once again they have arrested someone who is allegedly responsible for it and are trying to criminalize the protesting masses of Manipur, calling them terrorists or participants in a “transnational conspiracy”.

This criminalization and repression does not stop the people of Manipur from continuing their protest: the people celebrated the beginning of the struggle, when the revolt started 5 months ago. It was on Tuesday 10th of October when a commemoration was held with a march with coffins in honor of the martyrs of the struggle and a general strike that affected the Kangpokpi district. In these mobilizations, the Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) demanded the separation of the territories populated mainly by the Kuki people.

There were also mobilizations on 15th of October when a general strike was called in Imphal, because of the anniversary of the adhesion of Manipur to the old Indian State in 1949. The protests and the strike were called because it was considered that this day of the annexation of Manipur, was a “black day.” The strike disrupted almost all services, with markets and commercial establishments remaining closed and all transportation being cut off except for a few private vehicles.

Empty streets and presence of the Indian Army during the general strike conveyed the 15th of October in Imphal. Source: India Times.

In Manipur we see constantly that while the ruling classes and their lackeys are trying to impose themselves through repression, and to prevent that the people from struggling, what they actually achieve is to bring more people into the struggle. Repression, censorship and bans are only followed by more mobilizations and a continuation of the struggle.

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