"If AFSPA Is Reimposed...": Manipur Chief Minister's Warning Amid Violence

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said elements who continuously engage in violence should be held accountable if the government takes any stringent action, including reimposition of AFSPA

'If AFSPA Is Reimposed...': Manipur Chief Minister's Warning Amid Violence

Violence has flared up again in some parts of Manipur in recent days (File)


Chief Minister N Biren Singh today said he is "highly upset" with the ongoing violence in Manipur and elements who engage in it will be held responsible for any stringent government action, including reimposition of the AFSPA.

"Whatever is going on in the society now is too much. The government will find it really hard to tolerate if anyone or any group keeps on taking the law into their own hands. The central government will not keep on looking. If AFSPA is again reimposed, they will be held responsible," he said after visiting those injured in a firing incident at Lilong Chingjao area in Manipur's Thoubal district.

"Elements who continuously engage in violence should be held accountable if the government takes any stringent action, including reimposition of the unwanted AFSPA... I am highly upset (sic). The government cannot watch all this forever," he said.

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was extended for six months in the hill areas of Manipur for six months since October last year; 19 police station areas in Imphal valley and an area that shares its boundary with neighbouring Assam were kept outside its purview despite the ethnic conflict that broke out in May.

The Chief Minister asked the people not to take the law into their hands and to inform the authorities concerned if they find anything suspicious so that legal actions are taken. He also asked them to identify the "enemies of Manipur" and face them unitedly rather than engage in internal clashes.

Mr Singh visited the injured at Imphal's Raj Medicity, where four people with bullet wounds and two in a critical condition are being treated.

Four men were killed by insurgents of the Revolutionary People's Front (RPF), the political wing of the banned People's Liberation Army (PLA), in Lilong Chingjao on Monday. Ten others were injured in the incident and are currently undergoing treatment.

The incident was seen as the fallout of a dispute over money collected through illegal drugs trade, officials said. After the attack, locals set fire to four vehicles in which the attackers had arrived.

Following the violence, curfew was imposed in Thoubal, Imphal East and Imphal West, Kakching and Bishnupur districts.

The RPF owned responsibility for the shooting, which took place when some of its members went to the house of a man in the area who has several narcotics cases pending against him. Within minutes, hundreds of people gathered outside the house of the alleged drugs dealer and chased them away.

The RPF insurgents then opened fire on the locals, killing four and injuring 10 others.

Both the PLA and the RPF are banned under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

After his visit to the hospital, Mr Singh posted on X, "We strongly condemn all forms of violence, and the state government has launched mass combing operations to nab the culprits and the culprit will be punished according to the law. No one is above the law."

The Chief Minister also visited the families of the men killed by the insurgents. "We stand united as a community and our government is committed to ensuring swift and thorough investigations to bring those responsible to justice," he posted on X.

In another incident on Monday at Moreh town of Tengnoupal district, four police personnel and a Border Security Force constable were injured during a gunfight with insurgents. They were airlifted to the state capital Imphal for treatment.

Moreh, which is near the India-Myanmar border, has been seeing gunfights between security forces and insurgents since December 30.