Manipur: Mob tries to gherao police office to get arms; curfew relaxation withdrawn in Imphal

Security forces fired several rounds in the air to disperse the mob, officials said.

IMPHAL-  A mob on Wednesday tried to gherao a Manipur Police office complex demanding arms in Imphal, prompting the authorities to order firing of several rounds in the air and withdraw curfew relaxations in two districts, officials said.

A tribal student body called for a 48-hour shutdown from midnight of Wednesday to protest against the deployment of additional police commandos in Moreh town in Tengnoupal district, where a sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) was shot dead on October 31.

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The Manipur government on Wednesday evening withdrew the daily curfew relaxation from 5 am to 10 pm in Imphal East and West districts “with immediate effect owing to developing law and order situation”, according to an official order.

The decision came following the attempt by a group of people to gherao the 1st Manipur Rifles complex, close to Raj Bhavan and Chief Minister’s Office in Imphal West district, demanding weapons.

Security forces fired several rounds in the air to disperse the mob, officials said.

Tension had been brewing in the state capital after an on-duty sub-divisional police officer at Moreh town was shot dead by tribal militants on Tuesday morning.

In another incident, three police personnel suffered bullet injuries when militants ambushed a convoy of the state force at Sinam in Tengnoupal district on Tuesday afternoon. The convoy was sent to Moreh as reinforcement to assist in conducting operations.

Meanwhile, the Kuki Students Organisation (KSO) has called a 48-hour shutdown in the state from midnight of November 1.

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In a statement, KSO said it takes “strong exception to the continued stationing and additional deployment of Manipur police commandos in Moreh town despite Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s assurance to withdraw all state forces within three days during his visit to the border town”.

Shah visited the town bordering Myanmar in late May, weeks after the ethnic strife began in the northeastern state.

The KSO alleged that the police commandos were torturing the residents of the town following the killing of the SDPO.

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum, another organisation of the Kuki-Zo community, also levelled similar allegations.

SDPO Chingtham Anand, a resident of Imphal, was killed in a sniper attack while he was on duty overseeing the cleaning of the grounds of Eastern Shine School for construction of a helipad jointly by the police and BSF.

The slain police officer was an alumnus of the Sainik School Imphal and the alumni association of the institute condemned the killing.

The association on Wednesday urged the central and state governments to arrest the culprits.

The state has remained gripped by recurring bouts of violence since ethnic clashes first erupted in May. More than 180 people have been killed since then.

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The clashes have occurred over a number of grievances that both sides have against the other however the flashpoint of the crisis has been a move to give Meiteis scheduled tribe status, which has since been rolled back and an attempt to turf out tribals living in protected forest areas.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mainly in the hill districts.


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