The police in Imphal opened fire in the air today to disperse a mob
The Manipur Police fired several rounds in the air today to disperse a mob that surrounded a police station near the Chief Minister's office in the state capital Imphal. Curfew has been reimposed in the city.
Reports of gunfire at other parts of Imphal city came at the time of filing this report. Imphal residents who NDTV spoke to said they heard constant gunfire coming from the direction of the 1st Manipur Rifles complex.
The mob, allegedly led by the local youth group, demanded weapons from the police station in protest against what they called the state government's inaction following the killing of a senior police officer by an insurgent sniper in the India-Myanmar border town Moreh yesterday.
The mob clashed with the security forces and allegedly tried to surround the 1st Manipur Rifles complex, close to the Raj Bhavan and Chief Minister N Biren Singh's office in Imphal West district, demanding arms and ammunition, police sources said.
To control the mob, the security forces first baton-charged them, but had to fire in the air as the crowds kept on pushing in. Some people were injured in the clash, police sources said.
Manipur Police officer Chingtham Anand was shot dead by suspected insurgents in Moreh
Public Anger After Cop Shot Dead
The killing of senior Manipur Police officer Chingtham Anand by an insurgent sniper while he was overseeing the construction of a helipad in Moreh yesterday has sparked massive protests in the valley areas.
Protesters have demanded the Biren Singh government to send more forces to the border trading town, where the hill-majority Kuki tribes have objected against the deployment of Manipur Police personnel.
Commandos of the Manipur Police have arrested at least 10 Myanmar nationals in as many days for looting homes of Moreh residents, who left the border town when ethnic clashes broke out on May 3 between the Kuki tribes and the valley-majority Meiteis.
A small squad of Manipur Police commandos who have been stationed in Moreh since the May 3 violence is being bolstered with reinforcements now. Sending the police personnel to the border town, however, has not been easy due to roadblocks by miscreants, sources said, adding the need for a larger helipad was felt and so a decision to build it was taken.
Kuki Students' Organisation Calls Shutdown
The Kuki Students' Organisation (KSO) has called a 48-hour shutdown starting Wednesday midnight in protest against the deployment of additional police commandos in Moreh.
The KSO in a statement said it takes "strong exception to the continued stationing and additional deployment of Manipur Police commandos in Moreh despite Home Minister Amit Shah's assurance to withdraw all state forces within three days during his visit to the border town".
The Kuki tribes have objected to Manipur government sending more police commandos to Moreh
Mr Shah had gone to Moreh in late May, weeks after the ethnic violence began in Churachandpur and spread to other districts. The KSO alleged police commandos have been torturing Moreh residents after the killing of the police officer yesterday.
The Kuki body Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) has also made similar allegations. It criticised Biren Singh over what it claimed was inequality on treatment of two cases of cop deaths - one was Onkhomang Haokip, who was killed in September, and the other is yesterday's Moreh incident.
Referring to Haokip's death, the ITLF said, "... The Chief Minister's Office remained startlingly mute on social media, and no immediate action to investigate was taken. Moreover, a meagre ex-gratia was announced... The brutal and cowardly assault on officer Haokip left his family bereft, yet the government's indifference was palpable."
Manipur Government Recommends UAPA Against Kuki Group
The Manipur government in a statement after an emergency cabinet meeting yesterday said a first information report (FIR) has been filed against an organisation called World Kuki-Zo Intellectual Council (WKZIC), which issued a statement on October 24 asking "volunteers" in the Kuki-Zo community to take up arms as the Kuki National Army and other insurgent groups cannot "join the war" due to the tripartite suspension of operations (SoO) agreement with the centre and the state government.
At least 25 Kuki insurgent groups have signed the SoO agreement, under which they have to stay at designated camps, and keep their weapons in locked storage for regular joint monitoring with the security forces.
The WKZIC in a statement denied it ever published any statement asking for volunteers to "join the war", and criticised the government for what it called falling for a "fake statement" issued by unknown miscreants to tarnish the image of the WKZIC.