5 civilians killed, 3 BSF personnel hurt in fresh round of Manipur violence | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

5 civilians killed, 3 BSF personnel hurt in fresh round of Manipur violence

Jan 18, 2024 09:57 PM IST

On Thursday, there were violent protests in several parts of Manipur that continued to be tense with authorities struggling to put a lid on violence that has lasted 8 months

GUWAHATI: Five civilians were killed and three BSF personnel injured in fresh violence that spread throughout several districts in Manipur on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. This comes a day after two police personnel were killed and six others injured in an attack by armed militants in Tengnoupal on Wednesday morning, taking the toll over the two days to seven dead and nine injured.

mphal: Police personnel fire tear gas at women who came to meet Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh, in Imphal, Thursday. (PTI)
mphal: Police personnel fire tear gas at women who came to meet Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh, in Imphal, Thursday. (PTI)

Across Thursday, there were violent protests in several parts of the state that continued to be tense, with security personnel and the administration struggling to put a lid on violence that has now lasted eight months.

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Senior police officials confirmed that in Bishnupur district, four persons, all Meiteis, were killed by armed miscreants at Ningthong Kha Khunou around 2 pm on Thursday. The deceased have been identified as Ningthoujam Nabadeep (40), Oinam Bamonjao (63), Oinam Manitomba (37) and Thiyam Somen (56).

“Four persons were killed in an attack by armed miscreants on Thursday afternoon. We have managed to recover all the bodies and sent them to Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Imphal for postmortem and other formalities,” Meghachandra Singh, Bishnupur superintendent of police said.

The four killed were reportedly tilling a farm when they came under attack, and after the deaths, there were protests that erupted in several places in parts of the Imphal Valley. In a separate incident earlier in the morning, a gunfight broke out between armed village volunteers at Kangchup in Imphal West district, where a 23-year-old identified as Takhelambam Manoranjan, a Meitei, was killed.

Since May 2023, Manipur has been in the throes of ethnic violence between the majority Meitei community, and the tribal Kukis, with other communities increasingly sucked in to the violence that has continued unabated. Over the past eight months, at least 207 people have lost their lives, and over 50,000 people have been displaced.

The fallout of the long running-ethnic hostilities has meant that the Meiteis, who live largely in the plains of the Imphal valley, and the Kukis, who predominantly live in the hills, have withdrawn to their respective strongholds. In response, security forces have created buffer zones in different border districts, which have also been divided on ethnic lines. They have also set up camps and are posted on the highway to ensure that the groups remain separated, do not enter each other’s districts, and trigger violence. But often, militants from both groups use the hills and the jungle area to cross into other districts and attack each other, according to security officials. The sweeping ethnic violence has also led to the creation of community based armed defence volunteers, underlining how faultlines have deepened beyond the Meitei-Kuki divide, pitting different communities and groups against each other.

Thursday’s incidents come after a violent Wednesday night, when three personnel from the Border Security Force sustained bullet injuries after a mob attacked security forces and police installations in Thoubal. “An irate mob targeted the 3rd Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) in Khangabok, Thoubal district. Security forces repelled them using minimum necessary force,” said a statement issued by Manipur Police around 1am on Thursday.

The statement added that the mob attempted to breach Thoubal police headquarters and that armed miscreants from among the mob fired with live rounds. “As a result, three personnel from BSF sustained bullet injuries namely constable Gourav Kumar, ASI Sobram Singh, and ASI Ramji. The injured security forces have been evacuated to Raj Medicity for medical treatment,” the statement said. Following the attack, total curfew was imposed in Thoubal.

Officials said that the attack was a reaction to events earlier on Wednesday morning when two police commandos, both Meiteis, were killed and six others were injured after they came under an RPG attack by armed militants in Moreh, bordering Myanmar. In view of the deteriorating law and order situation in the district, where total curfew was imposed from Tuesday, the Manipur government had even sought a helicopter from the union home ministry to airlift security personnel and ammunition to Moreh.

Kuldiep Singh, security adviser to the Manipur government, admitted that the heightened tension was a cause for concern, and said that forces across the state have been alerted. “Forces are trying to tighten things but somehow or the other, Kuki militants are taking an active role in targeting innocent civilians and security forces all over,” he said.

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    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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