In a tragic turn of events, three people were killed and at least two others were injured in a fresh outbreak of ethnic violence in a tribal Kuki-dominated village in Manipur. According to sources familiar with the matter, two individuals died at the scene, while the third succumbed to injuries later. The village remains inaccessible to authorities, pending their arrival, and the bodies will be sent for autopsy, according to the reports by Hindustan Times.
A leader from the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), a conglomerate of Kuki groups in the Churachandpur district, revealed that the attackers were seen wearing olive green fatigues. The villagers initially assumed that security personnel were conducting a combing operation and cooperated by moving away. However, they were suddenly attacked, leading to a distressing turn of events. The leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added that security forces patrolling nearby rushed to the scene and engaged in a gunfight with the attackers.
Meanwhile, in a separate incident, two assailants on a motorcycle targeted the house of Bharatiya Janata Party lawmaker S Kebi in the Imphal West district. They hurled a grenade at the house, causing damage to the gate, but fortunately, no injuries were reported.
The ongoing violence between the tribal Kukis, predominantly residing in the hill districts, and the Meiteis, the dominant community in the Imphal Valley, has claimed the lives of 105 people and displaced around 40,000 individuals since its eruption on May 3. The unrest initially began as a protest against a court order granting scheduled tribe status to Meities, which quickly escalated into widespread violence. To address the situation, a curfew was imposed, internet services were suspended, and additional security forces were deployed to the state. However, tensions have persisted.
In response to the escalating crisis, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has initiated an investigation into the alleged conspiracy behind the violence. Six First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered by the Manipur government, with one case aimed at determining whether the ethnic violence was pre-planned. The CBI's involvement comes after over 3,700 FIRs were filed in the state since the outbreak of violence. The highest number of cases were reported in the Imphal West district, followed by Kangpokpi and Bishnupur.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has recently met with Naga legislators, urging them to act as mediators between the Kuki and Meitei communities and play a role in restoring peace to the state. This call for intervention comes amidst demands from Kuki MLAs for a separate administration, while Naga MLAs have distanced themselves from this demand. Notably, the six hill districts, where no curfew has been imposed, are predominantly Naga-dominated areas.
Kuldiep Singh, the security adviser to the Manipur government, expressed that the situation in Manipur has remained peaceful and under control, with no reported incidents of violence in the last 48 hours. He further announced that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has approved a relief package of ₹101.75 crore to aid the displaced people in Manipur. Additionally, efforts to recover stolen weapons continue, with over 4,000 firearms looted from police armouries and camps in Manipur. So far, security forces have successfully retrieved 896 arms, 11,763 ammunitions, and 200 different types of bombs, including 28 additional arms recovered since Wednesday.