New Delhi: Manipur police have released new numbers on the ethnic violence that has roiled the state since May 3 in what news outlets have described as a “hurriedly called” press conference on Thursday, September 14.
Police have updated the death toll to 175 – a number many news reports had speculated on, with the latest spurt of violence since the end of August after a brief calm earlier. At least 96 of the bodies are yet unclaimed, police said. The state is sharply divided along ethnic lines, making it difficult for families of those killed to travel to morgues, as successive reports have said.
Hindustan Times has reported that the Inspector General of Police (AP/Operations) I.K. Muivah was accompanied by inspectors general of police Jayantakumar (administration), Nishit Kumar Ujjawal (intelligence) and K. Kabib (Zone II).
The presser noted that 1,118 people have sustained injuries and 32 are officially missing. At least 5,172 cases of arson, including 4,786 houses and 386 religious places, were reported in the last four months, Muivah said, according to HT‘s report.
A total of 5,668 arms were lost and only around a quarter (1,329) has been recovered, Muivah said.
Another 15,050 ammunition and 400 bombs were recovered, he added.
“Muivah said security forces destroyed as many as 360 illegal bunkers in the state and that barricades set up between Phougakchao Ikhai and Kangvai — covering about one kilometre stretch along the Imphal-Churachandpur road — were also removed on Thursday,” the report further noted.
The barricades, which have acted to enforce buffer zones between territory controlled by particular communities have seen strife as well. On September 6, a stampede at a protest calling for their removal had led to over 40 people being injured.