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Manipur: Four People Killed in Fresh Clashes, Kuki Groups Lift NH Blockade

Curfew in West Imphal district is scheduled be relaxed for 13 hours – from  5 am to 6 pm – today.

New Delhi: Exactly two months after violence first broke out in Manipur, killings have continued, with four people having been killed on July 2 alone – and police saying that one of them have been beheaded.

Meanwhile, Kuki rebel groups said that they would lift the blockade on the National Highway in Manipur’s Kangpokpi district. This blockade had only been lifted during Union home minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state but was imposed again when three people from the Kuki-Zomi community were killed in Kangpokpi district on June 9, Indian Express has reported.

The report said that the United People’s Front and the Kuki National Organisation have released a statement saying that the blockade would be lifted to ensure the supply of essential commodities into the state. Both organisations are signatories to the Suspension of Operations agreement of 2008, with the Union government.

The Imphal Free Press has additionally reported the two bodies as having said, “Once the deployment of central forces is completed in all vulnerable areas, we will ensure that our volunteers are withdrawn from these areas to help restore peace and tranquillity”.

Curfew in West Imphal district is scheduled be relaxed for 13 hours – from  5 am to 6 pm – today. A day ago, Chief Minister Biren Singh visited the hills adjoining Bishnupur-Churachandpur, according to ANI.

Efforts at peace come alongside news of fresh killings in Churachandpur district, where a man was beheaded in a Hmar-Kuki-majority village on Sunday. The victim, David Thiek, was one of the volunteers who had stayed back the guard the village after the Hmar chief had told them to vacate it as a mob approached to burn houses early in the morning, the Express report said.

The report further said that three people from the Meitei community died in Khoijumantabi in Bishnupur district in the valley.

According to villagers who spoke to the Imphal Free Press, a total of eight volunteers were on guard duty when Kuki militants cornered them and launched a coordinated attack from both sides using automatic weapons at around midnight.

Meanwhile, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) has noted that its letterhead has been forged and is being used in fabricated press releases by “the Meitei propaganda machine.”

In an earlier version of this article, The Wire too had inadvertently reported on one such press release that was later identified as false.