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Security Heightened In Manipur Ahead Of I-Day Celebrations

Preparations for the I-Day celebrations are in full swing across the state with BSF, police and Assam Refiles personnel and students joining rehearsals for march past to be held on August 15.

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Security arrangements were beefed up in Manipur on Sunday after some Imphal valley-based banned organisations called for a strike on Independence Day, officials said. Security forces also conducted search operations in vulnerable areas of five districts and recovered arms and ammunition, the police said.

Preparations for the I-Day celebrations are in full swing across the state with BSF, police and Assam Refiles personnel and students joining rehearsals for march past to be held on August 15.

"Rehearsals for I-Day celebrations were held on Saturday at Peace Ground in Churachandpur district's Tuiboung area. Twenty-one parade contingents of BSF, police, students and Assam Rifles participated in the preparations," an official said.

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Preparations are also underway in the capital Imphal with temporary gates being erected and hoardings being put up to celebrate Independence Day on August 15. "Security measures have been significantly heightened after several militant outfits called for a strike on I-Day," another official said.

Several outlawed outfits, such as Coordinating Committee (Corcom), called for a general strike on I-Day from 1 am to 6.30 pm. Corcom includes banned groups including United National Liberation Front (UNLF), People's Liberation Army (PLA), and PREPAK.

Two more proscribed outfits in Manipur have also separately called for a shutdown on August 15. "Search operations were conducted in the fringe and vulnerable areas of Imphal-West, Imphal-East, Thoubal, Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts by the state police and central security forces and recovered 12 arms, six ammunitions and eight explosives," the Manipur Police said on Twitter.

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Notably, more than 160 people lost their lives and several hundred were injured since the ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur 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 little over 40 per cent and reside in the hill districts.

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