New Delhi: Tensions in Manipur are refusing to die down, with fresh violence on Wednesday leading to the death of one person in the Thamnapokpi foothills of Bishnupur district. According to The Indian Express, the man was shot when militants opened fire on Wednesday morning. He died while being taken to an Imphal hospital.
The man who was killed has been identified as Toijam Chandramani Singh of Churachandpur’s Thengra Leirak. He had reportedly been staying in a relief camp in Moirang.
In a separate incident, state public works department minister Govindas Konthoujam’s house was ransacked and vandalised, also in Bishnupur district. According to The Indian Express, a mob stormed the minister’s residence in Ningthoukhong town on Wednesday evening. Neither the minister himself nor anyone from his family was in the house when the incident occurred.
Konthoujam is the sitting BJP MLA from Bishnupur.
An indefinite curfew has been imposed again in Bishnupur district, The Times of India reported, and the curfew-free window in Imphal West district was shortened by four hours.
Kuldiep Singh, an ex-CRPF DG who was sent to Manipur to advise chief minister N. Biren Singh after ethnic violence between Kukis and Meiteis escalated on May 3, said the latest bout of violence began on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, when three houses in the Tronglaobi area of Bishnupur district were set on fire. After that, he said according to The Indian Express, more houses belonging to both communities were torched.
On Wednesday’s death, the security advisor said according to The Times of India, “Militants fired at a group of people in Tronglaobi area of Bishnupur around 9.30am. A person wounded in the firing died on way to hospital.”
He also said that in Imphal West’s Singda, bordering Kuki-dominated Kangpokpi district, a Meitei resident was injured in firing by suspected militants.
The violent clashes in the state that began on May 3 have left more than 70 dead, about 200 injured and close to 40,000 displaced. 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 Hindustan Times, there are currently around 10,000 personnel from the army and Assam Rifles and 7,000 from the CRPF and Border Security Force BSF in Manipur.
Scholars from both the Meitei and Kuki communities reportedly met in Union minister Rajkumar Ranjan Singh’s home in Delhi on Wednesday. The only other MP from Manipur, Lorho S. Pfoze, also joined the meeting, NDTV reported.
“Ten intellectuals each from both the Meitei and the Kuki communities discussed how to bring peace and reconciliation in Manipur, and the way forward. They spoke about thousands of years of shared history, culture and civilisation and agreed no one wants to lose them,” a person at the meeting told NDTV.
Meanwhile, a Manipur tribal body – the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum – has written a letter to Kuldiep Singh saying they can “no longer live with the dominant Meiteis anymore”.
“There is a clear-cut partition of hill and valley people as the tribals living in Imphal (Valley) have now returned to the tribal areas and the Meiteis living in the tribal areas have gone to Imphal,” the ITLF said, adding details of people killed and churches burnt, according to The Hindu.
A delegation of political representatives from different groups in Manipur