Renewed clashes between militants and security forces in Manipur

Clashes have broken out between armed groups and security forces at over half a dozen places across Manipur on Sunday, officials said.

The latest clashes began after army commenced coming operations to de-arm communities in order to bring peace.

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Chief Minister N Biren Singh claimed to newspersons on Sunday that the latest round of clashes was not between rival communities but between Kuki militants and Security forces.

The house of BJP MLA Khwairakpam Raghumani Singh at Uripok in Imphal West was vandalised and his two vehicles have been set on fire, a top security official told PTI.

He also said that clashes broke out in the early hours of the morning at several places in different districts surrounding the Imphal Valley.

“According to our information, firing has been reported from Sugnu in Kakching, Kangvi in Churachandpur, Kangchup in Imphal West, Sagolmang in Imphal East, Nungoipokpi in Bishenpur, Khurkhul in Imphal West and YKPI in Kangpokpi,” the official said.

New roadblocks have also sprung up at areas manned by women.

There was also an unconfirmed report of arms being looted from Kakching police station by a Meitei group, the official said.

Ethnic clashes which have claimed over 75 lives first broke out in Manipur after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The violence was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribal Nagas and Kukis constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.

Around 140 columns of the Indian Army and Assam Rifles, comprising over 10,000 personnel, besides those from other paramilitary forces had to be deployed to bring back normalcy in the Northeastern state.