Central “Violence Erupts in Manipur: 9 Killed in Firing and Arson”

3 min read

Nine people were killed on Tuesday night in incidents of gunfire and arson in Aigejang village in Manipur’s Kangpokpi district. Less than 24 hours later, the official residence of Kangpokpi MLA and state cabinet minister Nemcha Kipgen was set on fire in Imphal at around 6:30 pm Wednesday.

This is the highest death toll in a single incident in the state. After initial large-scale clashes from May 3 to 5, Manipur has seen a second major wave of violence, primarily in the form of arson and shootings in areas between the Kuki-dominated hills and the Meitei-dominated valley. The incident from Tuesday night has brought the total death toll in Manipur since the clashes began to at least 114.

According to the Superintendent of Police, Imphal East, the incident took place around 10:30 pm Tuesday. While Aigejang falls under the Kangpokpi revenue district, it comes under the jurisdiction of Imphal East, as it lies at the border of these two districts. Kangpokpi is a Kuki-dominated district, while Imphal East is dominated by Meiteis.

While Aigejang is a Kuki village, the nine bodies that were recovered were of Meitei people who were not residents of the village, police said, adding that they were “local volunteers”.

Eight of them have been identified as RK Prasanta (28), Konjengbam Sangkar Singh (25), Haobijam Somenkumar Singh (24), Moirangthem Heman Singh (34), Laishram Naithobi Devi (32), Y. Surjitkumar (43), and Laishram Suresh (33). Most hail from different parts of Imphal East district.

The bodies were recovered late at night from the village and were taken to Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal.

This particular border area has been witnessing heavy exchange of fire since Monday and has seen an influx of residents from across Imphal East to “defend” Meitei-dominated parts. Through Tuesday evening, they continued to flow into the area, several of them wielding arms.

According to a defense source, the incident in which the nine were killed came after these volunteers moved towards Kuki villages starting around 6 pm that evening. Another adjacent village in Kangpokpi district had already been burned down in the earlier violence on Monday.

“Seeing a large movement of people of a particular community in the area, most residents of these villages had already vacated the area… Around 6 pm, the arson attempts began again. They moved very fast and burnt down eight villages in the lower foothills and higher reaches in a short span of time. The shooting from the hillside was in retaliation to this,” he said.

One of the injured, undergoing treatment for multiple bullet injuries, said, “Twelve of us went to deliver food to the volunteers who were camping at one of the villages in Khamenlok area. After we reached the place, we were asked to stay inside the church while a few of the volunteers went to call others. It was raining heavily. And all of a sudden, we were fired upon from one side, followed by firing from another side by another group. We were completely surrounded and helpless. A significant number of volunteers were far from where we were.” He did not want to be identified.

On Wednesday evening, Kipgen’s official residence in Imphal West’s Lamphel was set on fire by miscreants. Kipgen is an MLA and the minister for the Textiles, Commerce Industry Department, and the Cooperation Department. She is one of the state’s 10 Kuki-Zomi MLAs and has been away from Imphal since the outbreak of the violence last month.

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours