More armed clashes in multiple districts of Manipur

Featured image: municipality’s building in Churachandpur burnt by the locals. Source: NDTV

In the last week the situation has become very tense in Manipur. There have erupted armed clashes in numerous districts at the same time, and also there have been numerous lootings of weapons and mobilizations of various types. Since we reported on the armed clashes in Moreh, the situation continues highly tense.

On Tuesday night it was reported that in Imphal East a group of people looted the weaponry of the 5th Indian Reserve Battalion, taking about 200 weapons and 20,000 cartridges. There was also a shooting with the local forces, a soldier was eliminated and three more were injured. After this operation, the total number of looted weapons that are unaccounted for is about 4,000. Among the weapons looted on this occasion, there are military weapons such as assault rifles like INSAS, AK, etc.

After this looting, the conflict erupted in Churachandpur, where on Thursday night there were two dead people and dozens of injured people in marches of the people towards the police station. The protesters denounced that a Kuki local policeman has been fired for collaborating with armed groups, but when the same happened with Meitei agents, nothing happened. The protesters have pointed out the complicity of the local repressive forces with the Meitei militias. The protest was harshly repressed and inhabitants of Churachandpur recorded how the Indian repressive forces attacked the mobilization, being similar to being in a war zone, with shooting with lethal ammunition and using explosives against the protesters.

After the strong repression by the Indian troops, the protesters assaulted several buildings of the repressive forces and several State buses were burned. After the violence, a total shutdown of the city’s services and businesses was called for on Friday 16th of February. The conflict there has continued, and the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum – ITLF are calling for a general strike in all State services in the city as a protest against the old Indian State.

Additionally in Sugnu, in the Kakching district, a border security guard agent has been injured in a gunfight. The officer who reported the facts also reported that there have been consistent armed attacks in the last three days in Sugnu, thus showing increasing instability in the area. Last Wednesday there was also another gunfight between several armed groups.

Map of the districts of Manipur. Source: Mapsofindia website

When the old Indian State announces that it has pacified the situation or that “it has returned to normalcy,” then the conflict erupts in many other places. The reality is that Manipur has not been pacified and will not be pacified soon. The situation is still not controlled despite the large number of troops deployed there, which is 60,000. Even the Prime Minister of Manipur, N Biren Singh constantly urges the State repressive forces to act more firmly. But from May, all this has been insufficient for stopping the protests and the struggle of the people in Manipur.

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