New Delhi: In the latest episode of violence in Manipur, three people – including a woman – were killed in firing by unidentified gunmen who were dressed in military fatigues.
According to reports, the firing occurred at around 4 am on Friday at Khoken village on the boundary of Kuki-majority Kangpokpi district and Meitei-majority Imphal East district. The deceased were identified as Jangpao Touthang, Khaimang Guite and Domkhohoi, while the injured persons were Thongneh and Thangkhojang, according to New Indian Express.
A statement by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), an umbrella group of Kuki anz Zo tribes in the Churachandpur district, claimed that the villagers were “unsuspecting of the attackers’ true identity and assuming it was an Army combing operation, gave way but were instead met with automatic rifle fire”
Domkhohoi was saying her early morning prayer in the church when the militants shot her dead “with no regard for the sanctity of a place of worship”, the statement added.
The ITLF said the “use of Army uniforms and vehicles by militants raises serious concerns about the source of their equipment and the potential involvement of external forces”.
“This attack is yet another example of the utter disregard shown by the Meitei militants, separatist mobs, radicalized groups like Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun, and the Meitei-centric State Government for the 15-day peace call made by Union Minister of Home Amit Shah. Such actions only serve to undermine the efforts of those heeding the Minister’s call for peace,” it said.
The statement continued, “We stand in solidarity with the people of Khoken village during this challenging time. As a community, we are fully committed to taking any necessary action, even if it requires us to consistently make the ultimate sacrifice to prevent the ongoing attacks and ethnic cleansing of the Kuki-Zo population by the Meiteis.”
The violence, which has been ongoing since May 3, has consumed more than 100 lives, injured many more and has displaced nearly 50,000 people in the Northeastern state. The violence was sparked after a rally by tribal groups protesting against a high court order on granting Scheduled Tribe status to the Meiteis.