Manipur: Attacks Skyrocket, New Curfews

Featured image: injured agent of the old Indian State in the encounter of Moreh. Source: New Indian Express

Instability has increased a lot in the last days of the year 2023 and the first days of the year 2024 in Manipur. New armed attacks have occurred, in an escalation that the Indian media itself claims is the largest that has occurred in Manipur since the beginning of December. We have recently reported on the developments in the struggle in Manipur.

The old Indian State and the federal government of Manipur once again triumphantly stated on 25th of December that normalcy was returning to the area, and steps were being taken towards it. Furthermore, he stated that “the dissent came from a limited section of society.” It also highlighted that they were promoting “dialogue” and that they would not use “excessive force” against the people in Manipur. Shortly after, his statements were called into question, since on Saturday 30th of December the arrest of Wangkhemcha Shyamjai, editor of the local newspaper Kangleipakki Meira and former president of the Union of All Journalist Workers of Manipur, took place. The same day a Meitei guard was shot and killed in Imphal. That same Saturday, another soldier of the old Indian State was injured in an ambush with improvised explosive devices and other explosives.

The escalation continued during 1st and 2nd of January of the new year, as on the night of the first day of the year, there was an attack in the Thoubal district of the Imphal Valley, leaving four dead and ten others injured. One of the injured have died this afternoon, so the death toll rises to five people in this attack. Following this, the authorities reimposed curfews in five districts in the Imphal Valley: Thoubal, Imphal East, Imphal West, Kakching and Bishnupur.

The climax of this escalation occurred during the morning of Tuesday, 2nd of January, when in Moreh, armed insurgents attacked security forces of the old Indian State, injuring seven of its members, four police commandos and three agents of the Border Security Force (BSF). This was a vigorous attack by the people in the face of an arbitrary attempt of repression, because the police were detaining two people for no apparent reason. First, women from the people opposed the arrest, and after this, the armed attack started, using firearms and RPG grenade launchers. Prime Minister N Biren Singh claimed that the attack had been carried out “by mercenaries from Myanmar”, attempting to cover the true nature of the attack, which was part of the people’s resistance against the repression of the old Indian State.

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