The authorities in Manipur on Tuesday reimposed full curfew in all five valley districts of the state as a preventive measure.
The development came after Meitei groups urged residents in the valley districts to remove an army barricade at Bishnupur’s Phougakchao Ikhai. The barricade had been put up a few kilometres away from the Kuki-dominated Churachandpur district.
Curfew relaxation hours have been cancelled in the districts of Bishnupur, Kakching, Thoubal, Imphal West and Imphal East. Till Tuesday, curfew in the five districts was being relaxed from 5 am to 6 pm every day.
Essential services will be exempted from the curfew.
On Tuesday, Information and Public Relations Minister Sapam Ranjan urged the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity, an umbrella organisation of six groups representing the Meiteis, and its women’s wing not to go ahead with its plan to storm the army barricade on Wednesday.
However, the Meitei organisation’s coordinator Somendro Thokchom said that it had earlier asked the government to remove the barricade by August 30, according to PTI. He reiterated for the barricade to be stormed and said the Manipur government would bear the responsibility if anything untoward were to happen.
Residents have reportedly said that the barricade prevents them from visiting their homes in the town of Torbung, which they had vacated after the violence broke out in May.
Over 195 people have been killed since the conflict broke out between the Meiteis and the Kukis in Manipur on May 3. Nearly 60,000 persons have also been forced to flee their homes. The state has reported cases of rape and murder, and mobs have looted police armoury and set several homes on fire despite the heavy presence of central security forces.
Opposition parties have repeatedly blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre and the state government for failing to control the violence.