Manipur Violence: Stand-Off In Itham Village Ends After Army Leaves With Seized Weapons

A stand-off was carried out by a women-led mob and security forces who cordoned off the village of Itham which had a dozen of members from a Meitei militant group, the army took the decision of leaving the site with seized weapons to avoid any collateral damage.

Indian Army officials patrol in the violence-hit area in Manipur.

The Indian Army in Manipur made a decision not to risk any civilian lives when they left the Itham village with seized weapons and ammunition. This was after a mob led by women and security forces surrounded the Imphal East village where a dozen members of the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup group were allegedly hiding.

According to the reports, the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) is a Meitei militant group and they were involved in a number of attacks, including the ambush of a 6 Dogra unit in 2015.

The officials told the media the army took a "mature decision by the operational commander keeping in view the sensitivity of use of kinetic force against large irate mob led by women and likely casualties due to such action" as the stand-off ended in Itham which went on throughout Saturday.

Reportedly one of the people held in Itham village was self-styled Lt Col Moirangthem Tamba alias Uttam, a wanted terrorist who may have been the mastermind of the Dogra ambush tragedy.

It was a strong mob of 1,500 women who surrounded the Army column and prevented forces from going ahead with the operation, reportedly.

According to the reports the officials said, "Repeated appeals to the aggressive mob to let the security forces carry on with operation as per law did not yield any positive result."

To avoid any collateral damage in the ongoing unrest in Manipur, the Army took the decision to leave.

According to the latest records, more than 100 people have lost their lives so far in the ethnic violence between Meitei and Kuki communities in the northeastern state.

Clashes first broke out on May 3 after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals -- Nagas and Kukis -- constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.