Manipur violence: Both Meiteis and Kukis have accused each other of using insurgents to attack villages
A large group of suspected insurgents hiding in the hilly and forested India-Myanmar border in Manipur has allegedly entered the state, people familiar with the matter said. The centre, state government and security forces have been working hard to bring peace since ethnic violence broke out between the Meiteis and the Kukis on May 3.
A meeting of intelligence officials and others involved in bringing peace and normalcy in Manipur met today at state capital Imphal, where among other issues they discussed reports of suspected insurgents allegedly entering Manipur from the Myanmar border, people with direct knowledge of the matter told NDTV.
They said they are aware of the matter, but are yet to confirm it.
Manipur government officials have found the involvement of insurgents in the violence, The Economic Timesreported on May 8, five days after violence broke out. Most of these groups have bases deep in the jungles along the India-Myanmar border.
A Lieutenant General (retired) in Manipur also tweeted about suspected insurgents allegedly entering the state from the Myanmar border.
"About 300 terrorists including lungi-clad ones from Myanmar have entered India (Manipur) and creating mayhem..." Lieutenant General L Nishikanta Singh (retired) alleged in his post, in which he also tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian Army and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Lt General Singh's "lungi-clad" reference was seen as indicating to the involvement of Myanmar border-based insurgents who, like civilians, wear the "longyi", as it is known in the country run by a military junta.
Lt General Singh retired in 2018 after serving in the Indian Army for 40 years. He was also with the Intelligence Corps.
Eastern Manipur's five districts share a 400-km border with Myanmar; less than 10 per cent of the international border with Myanmar is fenced, leaving it wide open as a transit route for drug trafficking to northeast India from the "Golden Triangle" - the tri-junction of the Myanmar, Laos and Thailand borders.
Home Minister Amit Shah, who landed in Imphal last night, went to Churachandpur district today, where violence began on May 3 between the Meiteis, who live in and around Imphal valley, and the Kuki tribe, who are settled in the hills, over the Meiteis' demand to be included under the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category. Over 80 have died.
The Manipur ethnic violence that started on May 3 has claimed over 80 lives
There has been sporadic gunfights across Manipur in recent days. Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan told reporters today the violence in Manipur is the result of clashes between two ethnicities and has nothing to do with counter-insurgency.
Both the Meiteis and Kukis have accused each other of using insurgents to attack villages.
Over 25 Kuki insurgent groups have signed the tripartite "suspension of operations" (SoO) agreement with the centre and the state government. Under the SoO rules, the insurgents are to be confined in designated camps identified by the government and the weapons kept under locks, regularly monitored.
Kuki groups have alleged Meitei militias, supported by some policemen, have been attacking their villages, while Meitei groups have alleged Kuki insurgents - armed with AK-47 and M-16 assault rifles and heavy weapons - took advantage of the SoO and launched a coordinated attack against Meitei villages.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh told reporters on Sunday they have got reports that "40 terrorists" have been shot dead.