Attack on fuel tankers triggers panic buying of petrol in Manipur

After a lull of over a month since the ECI announced the dates for the Lok Sabha election, the State has seen renewed violence since last week

Published - April 16, 2024 11:25 pm IST - New Delhi

Security personnel on duty in Manipur on April 11, 2024.

Security personnel on duty in Manipur on April 11, 2024. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

In further signs of escalating tensions just ahead of the Lok Sabha election in Manipur, a convoy of fuel tankers carrying oil and LPG was attacked near Kaimei village along the National Highway 37 connecting the Imphal Valley to Jiribam on Tuesday morning. 

Videos of the stopped convoy along the NH 37 after the attack by alleged armed miscreants soon went viral on social media. One of the videos showed fuel leaking through what appeared to be bullet holes in the tankers, while another one showed LPG leaking out of a tanker. News of the incident triggered panic buying of fuel at petrol stations in several places, prompting the State government to issue a statement. 

Security forces in the State have launched a joint combing operation in the area of the attack, a government source said.  

“In view of the present situation, the General Public have started resorting to panic buying of POL (Petrol and Diesel) and have started queuing up at Petrol pumps,” the statement issued by the Directorate of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution at Sangaiprou on Tuesday said.

The statement assured residents that there was sufficient stock of MS (motor spirit or petrol) and HSD (high speed diesel, commonly known as diesel) in the State, and that there would be no shortage. It directed the petrol pumps to operate as usual. The Manipur government also requested members of the public to not resort to panic buying of petrol and diesel, and only purchase for their “daily needs”. 

Other videos of the incident showed at least one driver of one of the tankers was injured in his leg even as officials tried to find large containers to save the fuel that was leaking out. 

After a lull of over a month since the Election Commission of India announced the dates for the Lok Sabha election, the State has seen renewed violence since last week. Ethnic conflict between the Meitei and Kuki-Zo peoples broke out on May 3, 2023. 

In an attack near Kangpokpi on Saturday, two Kuki-Zo village defence volunteers were killed and their bodies mutilated, according to videos circulating in the public domain. In addition to this, an increased number of threats to Congress candidates campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections in both constituencies of Manipur has been reported. 

Inner Manipur is set to vote on April 19 along with parts of Outer Manipur that comprise the hill districts largely dominated by the Kuki-Zo people, including Churachandpur and Kangpokpi. The rest of Outer Manipur, largely comprising hill districts dominated by the Naga tribes, is set to vote on April 26.

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