Armoury looted, policeman killed in separate incidents in Manipur 

Another attempt to loot weapons in Imphal city was thwarted by police

August 04, 2023 07:42 am | Updated 07:43 am IST - New Delhi

A police armoury was looted and a Manipur Rifles personnel was killed in two separate incidents in Manipur on Thursday, a police official said. Another attempt to loot weapons in Imphal city was thwarted by the police.

The incidents come a day ahead of a Supreme Court hearing in the matter.

The first incident took place in Bishnupur district when a mob looted automatic weapons from the second Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) at Naransena. The number of weapons looted from the armoury are not known. Since the beginning of the ethnic violence between the Kuki and Meitei community, more than 4,000 weapons and lakhs of ammunition have been looted from police stations and armouries, out of which a little over 1,600 weapons have been recovered.

Also Read | Manipur ethnic violence | In an armed conflict, the war on women 

An AK-47 rifle, several light machine guns, hand grenades, bullet proof jackets and over 19,000 round of ammunition were robbed. A complaint filed by police stated that “large number of armed miscreants and individuals who came by some 40/45 light vehicles and on foot numbering around 500 overpowered the sentry of main gate and quarter guard. They broke two of the doors of battalion armed kote and looted large numbers of arms, ammunition, munitions and other accessories.”

Police said 327 rounds of ammunition and 20 tears smoke shell were fired to control the mob.

Many women and men had gathered around 12 km away to protest a tribal group’s call for mass burial of 35 Kuki-Zo people who were killed in the ethnic violence that erupted in the State on May 3.

The protesters led by women tried to storm the way to the area where the burial was planned but were stopped by the Rapid Action Force (RAF) and the Army. The protesters hurled bricks and wooden logs at the RAF which fired tear gas shells and empty rounds in air to disperse the mob, according to a report on India Today TV. The report showed Manipur police personnel firing at the Central forces in retaliation. Several women were injured. The armoury was looted kilometres away from the protest site.

Ministry’s intervention

Though the burial had been called off after the Union Home Ministry intervened and spoke to the tribal leaders, the protesters wanted to proceed to the area. The said field is a government notified land. While Kuki groups claim the land lies in Churachandpur district, the Meitei claim that it belongs to Bishnupur district. The area with mix Kuki and Meitei population till May 3 has been turned into a buffer zone with deployment of Central forces. 

The second incident took place at Kourtuk on Imphal West-Kangpokpi border where one personnel of 6 Manipur Rifles identified as T. Rishi (48) was shot in the head by armed miscreants from the hill areas. So far, 150 persons have been killed in the ongoing violence and more than 54,000 persons displaced.

Curfew relaxations in Imphal East and Imphal East were withdrawn and restrictions were imposed during the day as a precautionary measure, other than night curfew throughout the Imphal valley. Relaxation has been given only from 5 a.m. -12 noon. 

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