Manipur Violence: 70 Houses, Police Outposts Torched as Curfew Imposed

At least 70 houses were burned down, along with two police outposts and a forest office, as fresh violence broke out in Manipur’s Jiribam district on Saturday. According to officials, over 70 state police commandos were airlifted from Imphal to Jiribam to assist in operations against militants. Suspected militants allegedly torched houses in Lamtai Khunou, Dibong Khunou, Nunkhal, and Begra villages, forcing residents to abandon their homes and seek shelter in a relief camp. Around 239 Meitei people, primarily women and children, were evacuated from Jiribam’s outlying areas on Friday and relocated to a newly established relief camp in a multi-sports complex. The violence prompted the transfer of the Jiribam superintendent of police, A Ghanashyam Sharma, who was replaced by M Pradip Singh, formerly the additional director of the police training college. The incident followed the killing of 59-year-old Soibam Saratkumar Singh, whose body was discovered with sharp object wounds. Protests erupted, leading to the setting ablaze of abandoned structures and the imposition of prohibitory orders. Amidst the unrest, locals gathered outside the Jiribam Police Station, demanding the return of licensed firearms seized during elections. In response to concerns about potential unrest and violence, the Manipur government declared an indefinite curfew in Jiribam district. The curfew restricts gatherings of five or more people, prohibits the carrying of weapons, and limits movement outside residences. Jiribam has a diverse population of Meiteis, Muslims, Nagas, Kukis, and non-Manipuris and has been largely unaffected by the ethnic strife that has plagued Manipur since May 2021. However, tensions between Meiteis and Kukis have resulted in numerous deaths and displacements. The National Investigation Agency has detained a militant commander in connection with a conspiracy to incite violence in Manipur. Angomcha Bimol Akoijam, the newly elected Congress MP from the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat, urged the state government to safeguard the lives and property of Jiribam residents.

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