INDIA: On Sunday, fresh violence broke out in Manipur, leaving at least five dead, including a police officer, and injuring 12 others. In the violence-hit state, ethnic clashes have claimed at least 80 lives.
The fresh violence erupted hours before Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the violence-hit state. Violence was reported in several areas of the state after alleged terrorists set fire to numerous homes with high-tech weapons in the Serou and Sugunu regions.
The wounded individual has been swiftly admitted to Raj Medicity Hospital, a police official confirmed. The latest outbreak of ethnic violence in the state has tragically taken the lives of over 75 people in the northeastern state.
N Biren Singh, the chief minister of Manipur, announced on Sunday that security personnel had neutralised 40 armed “terrorists” who had been attacking citizens and setting fire to homes in response to the eruption of clashes. The purpose of these operations was to bring peace back to the state, which had been experiencing ethnic riots.
In a press conference at the state secretariat, the chief minister stated that the most recent fighting “is not between communities but between militants and security forces.”
“The terrorists have been using M-16 and AK-47 assault rifles and sniper guns against civilians. They came to many villages to burn down homes,” Singh told local media.
“We have started taking very strong action against them with the help of the army and other security forces. We have got reports that some 40 terrorists have been shot dead,” Singh was reported as saying.
In the past 24 hours, four people have died as a result of rising unrest, according to a military source. A military source did, however, confirm an increase in unrest; he stated that four fatalities had occurred in the past 24 hours.
“At least three armed miscreants, who were trying to set fire to empty houses and fired at the security forces when they tried to stop them, died in retaliatory firing,” the source said under the condition of anonymity.
In Moreh, “one more armed miscreant was killed and three others, including two security personnel, were injured,” the source reported.
Amit Shah, the union home minister, will embark on his three-day trip to Manipur on Monday in an effort to end the ongoing clashes.
Conflicts erupted in Manipur on May 3 following a “Tribal Solidarity March” organised in the hill districts to protest the Meitei community’s desire for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
Earlier, Shah held a number of meetings with members of the Meitei and Kuki groups as well as other interested parties to discuss the steps being taken to bring peace back to the state.
General Manoj Pande, the head of the Army, visited Manipur on Saturday to assess the state of law and order. Last month, when tribal groups, mostly Kukis, protested against the Meitei community’s petition to be classified as a Scheduled Tribe (ST), which would grant them access to reservation privileges and forest areas, violence broke out across the state.
Violence was preceded by tension over the displacement of Kuki people from the reserve forest area, which caused several smaller agitations.
The government has enacted curfews and internet blackouts in various locations to stop the violence from escalating further.
Authorities in the district have also reduced the 11-hour curfew relaxation period in Imphal’s east and west districts to just six and a half hours due to recent violence.