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Armed men gun down two in Manipur; Curfew relaxations cancelled

In view of the violence, district authorities have cancelled the curfew relaxation in Bishnupur, Imphal East and Imphal West districts. Read More

Wednesday May 24, 2023 8:17 PM, IANS

Armed men gun down two in Manipur; Curfew relaxations cancelled

Imphal: In fresh incidents of violence in restive Manipur, a man was gunned down by the armed assailants of a different community while two others were injured in separate incidents in Bishnupur district on Wednesday, police said.

In view of the violence, district authorities have cancelled the curfew relaxation in Bishnupur, Imphal East and Imphal West districts, where curfew was relaxed from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Police officials in Imphal said that some armed youths had raided a few villages in Moirang in Bishnupur district and on hearing the commotion, some inmates of a relief camp there came out to see what was happening and a man, identified as Toijam Chandramani, 29, was hit by a bullet from behind.

He was immediately taken to a private hospital in a serious condition but succumbed to the bullet injury after some time.

Additional Troops Deployed

As tension escalated after Chandramani's death, additional para-military and police personnel have been deployed to control the situation.

According to police, some miscreants belonging to a particular community torched three houses of different communities at Phoubakchao in Bishnupur on Tuesday night. In retaliation, some youths of another community burnt down four houses.

Since May 3, when the ethnic violence erupted in 11 of the 16 districts in Manipur, indefinite curfew was imposed and internet services were suspended while sporadic incidents of violence reported almost every day. Army, Assam Rifles and Territorial Army have been deployed in 23 most sensitive and most volatile police station areas in 11 districts.

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, who also holds the Home portfolio, said his government had sought more companies of central forces to deal with the recurring violence in some areas.

Kashmirisation of Manipur

In the recent widespread ethnic violence in Manipur so far 71 people have been killed, 300 people injured including police personnel, nearly 1,700 houses were burnt, and more than 200 vehicles destroyed.

As the BJP government in Manipur sought more central forces in the state, the Congress leaders in Manipur were suspicions by bringing in more companies of the Central forces in the state, the government has attempted to turn to "Kashmirisation" of Manipur.

"It seems that more inflow of huge numbers of Central forces in the state might turn out to be an attempt to suppress the people just like in Kashmir," state Congress Vice President Hareshwar Goshwami said on Wednesday.

He claimed the government had failed to secure civilians in the peripheral areas of the valley, despite having sufficient Army and various central forces.

"There might be some hidden agenda of the BJP government to deal with the present conflict. That's why they sought more and more central forces," the Congress leader said.

Refuting the state government's claim of normalcy being restored, he pointed out that incidents of violence happening across the state in the last few days and the continuation of ban on internet services and curfew shows otherwise.

Compensations for victims of Kerala's boat capsize incident were given within a week after the incident, but even after three weeks, the government has not provided compensation to the victims and affected people in Manipur, Goshwami said, questioning why the state government is dealing lethargically.

'BJP responsible for present situation'

Meanwhile, the Congress Wednesday accused the BJP for the present situation in ethnic violence-hit Manipur, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to speak to the warring communities in the hill state to bring normalcy there.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, Congress leader Ajoy Kumar said, "On May 3, 4 and 5, when violence erupted in Manipur and the state was burning, Modi and Shah were busy campaigning for the Assembly elections in Karnataka."

Targeting the BJP, the Congress leader, who was also a member of the party's fact-finding committee that visited Manipur on May 18, said:

"The present condition in Manipur is the creation of BJP. The saffron party has nothing to do with the country, all it wants is to grab power."

Citing the extent of damages caused by the clashes in the northeastern state, the former Lok Sabha MP said:

"54,000 people have been displaced, 20 police stations have been torched and 2,000 buildings have been gutted in Manipur."

He also claimed that more than 1,000 semi-automatic and automatic weapons along with 6,000 bullets were robbed during the violence in which over 200 churches were also brunt.

Besides Kumar, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge had named Mukul Wasnik and party MLA Sudip Roy Barman in the three member fact-finding committee.

Targeting the BJP, the Congress leader said that during elections, many ministers held public meetings to seek votes in the state, "but they have not gone there after violence erupted in Manipur".

Kumar, a former IPS officer, said:

"At the Imphal government hospital, 70 bodies are kept at the mortuary, while 18 bodies are kept at the Churachandpur hospital mortuary since May 5, which are yet to be claimed. Such is the condition in Manipur."

"Politicians are speaking in the language of extremists," he claimed.

"We demand immediate rehabilitation of the displaced people and a compensation of Rs 20 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased, and Rs 5 lakh for the injured," the Congress leader said.

He also said that during their visit to the northeastern state, the three-member fact-finding committee of the Congress came to know that earlier there was no fight between the Meitei and the Kuki communities who lived there peacefully for decades.

"But things changed after the BJP came to power," he alleged.

Kumar also urged Modi and Shah to call a meeting of the community leaders for holding peace talks.

The Congress had earlier dubbed the violence in Manipur "pre-planned" and demanded immediate imposition of President's Rule in the BJP-ruled state. Several party teams visited the strife-torn state and talked to the people of different communities in affected districts.


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