Manipur Violence: 6 Civilians, 2 Policemen Killed in Fresh Violence; CM Says '40 Terrorists' Killed

Army chief General Manoj Pande is currently in the state, and Union home minister Amit Shah is set to arrive on Monday.

New Delhi: Violence continued in Manipur on Sunday, with at least six civilians killed in firing by unidentified shooters in Sugnu and Phayend early in the morning, The Frontier Manipur reported. Two police commandoes were also killed, according to the report.

News18 too reported that fresh violence and an “encounter” between security forces and “armed miscreants” had taken place in different areas, with the injured being taken to a hospital in Churachandpur.

Chief minister N. Biren Singh told reporters that security forces have been conducting encounters against armed insurgents and “40 terrorists” have been shot dead.

“The terrorists have been using M-16 and AK-47 assault rifles and sniper guns against civilians. They came to many villages to burn down homes. We have started taking very strong action against them with the help of the army and other security forces. We have got reports some 40 terrorists have been shot dead,” NDTV quoted the chief minister as saying.

“I won’t call them Kuki militants. They are Kuki terrorists. They have been shooting at unarmed civilians,” he continued.

Army chief General Manoj Pande is currently in the state, where he arrived on Saturday afternoon for a two-day visit. He was meant to meet the governor, chief minister and security advisor during his trip and take stock of the security situation on the ground.

Union home minister Amit Shah is also set to arrive in Manipur on Monday, nearly a month after the violence first escalated on May 3. He announced a three-day trip during which he will meet various stakeholders and encourage a dialogue.

In a statement on Sunday, the United People’s Front and Kuki National Organisation said they were looking forward to Shah’s visit. Shah’s visit will provide a sense of security to the Kuki Zo people, they said.

On Saturday, the Manipur Police had arrested three Rapid Action Force personnel for setting a meat shop on fire in Imphal East district. The three men, from the 103 battalion, have been placed on suspension pending inquiry, The Indian Express reported.

Chief minister N. Biren Singh claimed that as of Friday, 34,000 troops from central forces were currently stationed in the state. Their presence, he claimed, had brought down the prevailing sense of apprehension to some extent.

However, multiple instances of violence continue to be reported from the state on a daily basis.

More than 70 people have died, 200 been injured and over 40,000 reportedly displaced in the ethnic violence that began on May 3 so far. There is heavy army and paramilitary presence in the state, particularly in areas seen as sensitive.

The tensions arose out of the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status, which the Gauhati high court supported. Hill tribes in Manipur feel it would be unfair to grant the majority Meitei community ST status, and would impinge on their right to jobs and education. Prices of essential commodities in the state are reportedly rising and tensions persist.

According to The Times of India, Shah on Thursday had blamed the court verdict for the escalated tensions in the state. Earlier, in their statements to the Supreme Court, both the Manipur and Union governments had said that the violence was due to the influx of ‘illegal immigrants’ and poppy cultivation in the reserved forests.

This is a developing story and more details will be added when received.