India: Struggle does not end in Manipur. Conflict continues in Moreh

Featured image: the police shots teargases against a protest which goes towards the home of the Chief Minister of Manipur, N Biren Singh. Source: PTI

Local and State media have continuously reported on new armed clashes during the last weeks in Manipur, especially in Moreh, a town that borders Myanmar. The shootings have continued since the end of December and were especially intense at the beginning of this month. After the first week of January there have been different incidents with shootings and attacks that have focused especially against the repressive forces of the old Indian State that are present in the area.

The situation escalated 10 days ago, when the repressive forces made a series of arrests in the area. There were several attacks against police and military positions, which left injured agents. The curfew was imposed since Tuesday 16th of January but that did not prevent the growing of the escalation. On Wednesday 17th of January, according to Moreh’s locals, the police burned eleven houses and two schools in the town, something that the police did not denied but refused to answer on it. After that, that same day there was an attack with firearms shots, hurling bombs and shooting with propelled grenades RPG. The attack left two dead police commands and five other injured.

Map of Moreh in Manipur. Source: Wikipedia

The struggle has not been limited to Moreh, but on Wednesday 17th there were more mass protests in Manipur. In one of them, in Thoubal, three soldiers of the Indian Reserve Battalion were injured after the attack of a crowd of the people. On the other hand in the capital, Imphal, a march of women with torches went to the house of the Chief Minister of Manipur, N Biren Singh, being repelled by the repressive forces that dispersed them with tear gases. Additionally there was an atmosphere of tension in the celebration of the “Day of the Republic” of the old Indian State, because different groups called to boycott this day, making a general strike and being the streets empty and the communications cut with the rest of the Indian State.

The old Indian State shows an obvious concern on this situation. The Director General of the Assam Rifles openly admitted that in Moreh an escalation of violence was suffered since the end of December, which had especially affected the repressive forces of the old Indian State. At the beginning of the year we already reported that the peak of the escalation of the violence that there was, occurred in this same border town with Myanmar, in Moreh. Also the Chief of the General Staff of the Army, General Manoj Panda, admitted that they had only recovered 30 percent of looted firearms since the beginning of the revolts in Manipur. Therefore, we see that the old Indian State has been completely unable to overcome the main challenges that has faced in Manipur.

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