Amid renewed clashes between armed groups and security forces at over half a dozen places across Manipur on Sunday, chief minister N Biren Singh claimed that atleast "40 militants" have been shot dead. The latest clashes began after army commenced coming operations to de-arm communities in order to bring peace.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh claimed to newspersons on Sunday that the latest round of clashes were not between rival communities but between Kuki militants and security forces. The house of BJP MLA Khwairakpam Raghumani Singh at Uripok in Imphal West was vandalised and his two vehicles have been set on fire, a top security official told PTI.
#ManipurViolence | In retaliatory and defensive operations against these terrorist groups who are using sophisticated arms against the civilian population, around 30 of these terrorists have been killed in different areas. A few have also been arrested by the security forces,… pic.twitter.com/cVNXHxZ2yV— ANI (@ANI) May 28, 2023
He also said that clashes broke out in the early hours of the morning at several places in different districts surrounding the Imphal Valley. "According to our information, firing has been reported from Sugnu in Kakching, Kangvi in Churachandpur, Kangchup in Imphal West, Sagolmang in Imphal East, Nungoipokpi in Bishenpur, Khurkhul in Imphal West and YKPI in Kangpokpi," the official said.
Singh also said that there had been cases of armed militants firing at civilians with AK-47s, M-16 and sniper rifles. These militants were targeted by security forces in counter-attacks.
The CM appealed to the public not to hinder the movement of security personnel and urged them to have "faith in the government and support the security forces." "We have experienced hardship for so long and we will never allow the state to disintegrate," Singh said.
New roadblocks have also sprung up at areas manned by women.There was also an unconfirmed report of arms being looted from Kakching police station by a Meitei group, the official said.
Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande visited the violence-hit state on Saturday to review the situation. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has appealed for peace in Manipur and assured that justice will be served to all sections of society. Speaking at an event in Guwahati while laying the foundation stone of the National Forensic Sciences University's tenth national campus in Kamrup district, Shah expressed his intention to visit Manipur soon and engage in resolving disputes.
Ethnic clashes which have claimed over 75 lives first broke out in Manipur after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. The violence was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribal Nagas and Kukis constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.
Around 140 columns of the Indian Army and Assam Rifles, comprising over 10,000 personnel, besides those from other paramilitary forces had to be deployed to bring back normalcy in the Northeastern state.
(With inputs from PTI)