Security forces tightened vigil and curfew was extended after a fresh incident of violence in Manipur’s capital Imphal on May 22.
Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh said an ex-MLA “behind the conspiracy” to trigger another round of unrest was picked up along with two others armed with single-barrel guns after they asked roadside vendors, mostly women, to vacate the New Checkon area of the Imphal West district at around 10 a.m.
As the news of the intimidation spread, a mob arrived and torched some abandoned houses, officials said. Army and paramilitary personnel brought the situation under control.
This was the second such incident in less than 12 hours. On Sunday night, three persons sustained minor injuries in the Imphal West district when a man wielding a double-barrel gun attacked them. The attacker was arrested.
“Peace was slowly returning to Manipur in the last 10 days. But after the minor clash yesterday, another incident took place in the heart of Imphal today. An ex-MLA and a couple of armed men were picked up and detained at the police station concerned,” the Chief Minister Singh said..
The ex-MLA instigate the armed men, he added.
He appealed to the people to trust the peace-building process of the government monitored by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. “Whenever you have some doubts or suspicion, please contact the police and the emergency numbers,” he said.
A defence statement said a person identified as Chungkhomang Kipgen was caught with a 12-bore shotgun and seven cartridges from Imphal West district after he was found involved in a firing incident in village Moidangpok Sunday night. Three injured persons were shifted to the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences hospital, it added.
A combined team of security forces also caught three suspected troublemakers along with two single-barrel 12-bore guns after they threatened roadside vendors in the New Chekon area on Monday morning.
After Monday’s incident, the State government reduced the curfew relaxation time by three hours in Imphal. The relaxation period prior to the incident was 5 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In Shillong, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma said his National People’s Party (NPP) adopted a resolution for peace in Manipur. The NPP has seven MLAs in Manipur.
“We will reach out as much as possible to different communities and areas so that we are able to bring back peace in Manipur,” he said.
Mr. Sangma said issues of different communities in Manipur could be settled through discussions and confidence-building measures. “The Manipur government and the Centre will have to do a lot to resolve the issues,” he added.
Ethnic clashes between the tribal Kuki and the non-tribal Meitei communities broke out on May 3 following a ‘tribal solidarity march’ to protest the move for granting the Scheduled Tribe status to the Meiteis. The violence singed 11 of the State’s 16 districts, six of them severely, leaving 71 people dead and 35,000 homeless.
Mobile phone internet and broadband services have been suspended since May 3. Disruption of road transport has led to a shortage of essential items, fuel and life-saving drugs, officials said.