Mob Attempts to Loot Manipur Rifles Camp in Imphal, Security Forces Foil Bid
In a concerning turn of events, a large mob consisting of hundreds of individuals launched an attack on the 1 Manipur Rifles camp in Imphal, with the intent to loot its armory. The incident prompted security personnel to respond by firing several warning shots into the air, leading the state government to re-impose a round-the-clock curfew in the capital, officials reported.
According to officials, the mob, mainly comprising members of the majority community, targeted the Manipur Rifles camp situated close to the Raj Bhavan and the Chief Minister’s Office in Imphal West district. “After the mob managed to seize a few weapons, the police, assisted by CRPF and Army units, intervened to thwart further attempts to loot the armory,” stated an official.
Security forces resorted to firing warning shots into the air to disperse the aggressive mob, officials added. Following this incident, the Manipur government acted swiftly to withdraw the daily curfew relaxation in Imphal East and West districts, which was previously in effect from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
This decision was prompted by the deteriorating law and order situation, as indicated by an official order. Tensions had been brewing in the state capital following the shooting of a Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) – an officer of the deputy superintendent rank hailing from the majority community – by tribal militants in Moreh town on Tuesday morning.
In another distressing incident, three police personnel sustained bullet injuries when militants ambushed a convoy of the state force in Sinam, Tengnoupal district, on Tuesday afternoon. The convoy had been dispatched to Moreh as reinforcement to support ongoing operations.
Concurrently, the Kuki Students Organisation (KSO) has announced a 48-hour shutdown in the state commencing from midnight on November 1. This protest is aimed at opposing the deployment of additional police commandos in Moreh town, Tengnoupal district, where the SDPO was fatally shot on October 31.
In an official statement, the KSO expressed strong objections to the continuous presence and the additional deployment of Manipur police commandos in Moreh town, despite Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s assurance of withdrawing all state forces within three days during his visit to the border town.
Amit Shah’s visit occurred in late May, following the commencement of ethnic strife in the northeastern state. The KSO has alleged that the police commandos are subjecting the town’s residents to harsh treatment in the aftermath of the SDPO’s killing.
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum, another organization representing the Kuki-Zo community, raised similar allegations concerning the conduct of the police commandos.
The SDPO, Chingtham Anand, a native of Imphal, tragically lost his life in a sniper attack while on duty, overseeing the preparation of grounds at Eastern Shine School for the construction of a helipad, a joint initiative involving the police and BSF.
The late police officer had been an alumnus of Sainik School Imphal, and the institute’s alumni association vehemently condemned his killing. On Wednesday, the association issued an appeal to both the central and state governments, urging them to take swift action to arrest the culprits behind this act of violence.
For months, the state of Manipur has grappled with recurring episodes of violence since ethnic clashes first erupted in May, resulting in the tragic loss of more than 180 lives. The underlying causes of the clashes encompass various grievances on both sides. However, a significant point of contention revolves around the proposed recognition of Meiteis as a Scheduled Tribe, which was subsequently revoked, as well as efforts to displace tribals residing in protected forest areas.