In Manipur, where ethnic violence has claimed at least 80 lives in the past month, new violence broke out yesterday, leaving at least five people dead, including a policeman, and 12 more injured. After alleged terrorists in the Serou and Sugunu area set fire to numerous homes with high-tech weapons, new violence broke out in different areas of the state.
Amit Shah, the Home Minister, is scheduled to visit the violence-struck state in a few hours. Yesterday, Chief Minister N Biren Singh said that ’40 terrorists’ had been killed by gunfire in the previous four days.
CM Singh said, “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.”
The Chief Minister stated that the recent spike in violent attacks against citizens on the fringes of Imphal Valley was well-planned and is categorically condemned. Today’s visit by Home Minister Amit Shah to Manipur is on track and he has pleaded with the Kukis and Meiteis to keep things peaceful and seek to restore normalcy.
General Manoj Pande, the Army Chief, visited Manipur on Saturday to assess the state of law and order. Last month, when tribal groups, mostly Kukis, demonstrated against the Meitei community’s petition to be classified as a Scheduled Tribe, which would grant them access to reservation privileges and forest areas, violence broke out throughout the state.
Tension over the displacement of Kuki people from the reserve forest area had caused a number of smaller agitations before the violence. In order to stop the violence from getting worse, the government has implemented curfews and internet bans in a number of locations.