Manipur violence | situation calm but tense in Imphal

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Security personnel stand guard during a protest against the killing of two youths who were allegedly kidnapped in July, in Imphal, on Sept. 26, 2023. More than 30 students, mostly girls, were injured after the police fired tear gas shells and baton-charged the protestors.

Security personnel stand guard during a protest against the killing of two youths who were allegedly kidnapped in July, in Imphal, on Sept. 26, 2023. More than 30 students, mostly girls, were injured after the police fired tear gas shells and baton-charged the protestors.
| Photo Credit: PTI

The situation remained calm but tense in the Singjamei area of Imphal on September 27 morning after a clash between students and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel left 45 protesters injured the previous night.

Manipur Police, CRPF and RAF personnel were seen deployed in strength throughout Imphal Valley in anticipation of possible protests and violence.

A clash occurred on September 26 night between RAF personnel and locals protesting the killing of two students, who had been missing since July 6, prompting the law enforcers to lob tear gas shells and fire rubber bullets at the agitators and baton-charge them, leaving 45 of the protesters, mostly students, injured.

Although the State government has declared a holiday for schools on September 27, students of some Imphal-based institutions vowed to congregate at their schools, sparking speculations of more protests later in the day.

“Security has been beefed up to prevent any untoward incident,” an official said.

A tense calm prevailed in Singjamei even though shops and business establishments were open and vehicles plied the roads.

The State government has relaxed curfew restrictions from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Imphal East and Imphal West districts on September 27 to facilitate the general public to purchase essential items including medicines and food, an official notification said.

“However, the relaxation shall not include any gathering/sit-in protests/rally without obtaining approval from the competent authority,” it stated.

Following the clashes, the State government has re-imposed a ban on internet mobile services with immediate effect till 7.45 p.m. of October 1 to prevent the spread of misinformation and rumours.

It was recently lifted after more than four months of imposition on May 3 when the ethnic clashes began.

The State government has declared a holiday for schools on September 27 and 29 in view of the prevailing law and order situation, with September 28 being a public holiday in view of Milad Un-Nabi (Prophet Muhammad’s birthday).

More than 175 people have been killed and several hundred injured since ethnic clashes broke out in the northeastern state on May 3, when a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status.

Meiteis account for about 53% of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal valley, while tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40% and reside mostly in the hill districts.

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