IMPHAL- At least nine people were killed in Manipur late on Tuesday night in a violent gunfight, a top police official informed. The injured have been admitted to Imphal hospital, police add.
“The gun battle started around 10 p.m. on Tuesday and continued for a long time. We have reports of at least nine deaths and 10 injured so far,” Police Superintendent K Shivakanta Singh said.
A PTI report cited, suspected militants, armed with sophisticated weapons, surrounded the villagers in the Khamenlok area late evening and then launched an attack around 1 am.
Earlier on Monday, another nine people were injured in a gunfight between militants and village volunteers in the same region.
The Khamenlok lies along the borders of the Meitei-dominated Imphal East district and the tribal-majority Kangpokpi district.
The recent ethnic violence between the Meitei and Kuki communities in Manipur has resulted in significant loss of life and injuries. Reports indicate that approximately 100 people have lost their lives, while 310 others have been injured. To restore peace in the state, the deployment of army and para-military personnel has been necessary.
At least 115 people have been killed and another 40,000 displaced since violence between the tribal Kukis, who mostly reside in the hill districts, and the Meiteis, the dominant community in Imphal Valley, erupted on May 3.
The clashes began on May 3 following a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ organized 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 another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.
On Monday, prominent civil society organisations from warring Meitei and Kuki communities refused to be a part of a peace committee the Union government has constituted to broker peace in the state.
Union home minister Amit Shah on June 1 announced the formation of the panel as part of measures to tamp down tensions.