At least 10 persons were injured in clashes between the police and mobs in different areas of Manipur’s Imphal on Thursday, PTI reported.
A full curfew has been imposed in the Imphal East and Imphal West districts as a precautionary measure by the authorities. Earlier the curfew was relaxed from 5 am to 9 pm to allow the purchase of essential items including medicines and food items.
Tension has been brewing in Imphal over the arrest of five armed miscreants on September 16 for carrying firearms and wearing camouflage uniforms. The five persons who were arrested were Moirangthem Anand Singh, Athokpam Kajit, Loukrakpam Michael Mangangcha, Konthoujam Romojit Meitei and Keisham Johnson.
The arrests led to widespread protests and demonstrations in the valley areas. On Tuesday, a 48-hour bandh was called by the Meira Paibis, a community of Meitei women. They demanded the release of the five men, claiming they were village volunteers.
On Thursday, several protestors holding placards and shouting slogans attempted to enter the Porompat Police Station in Imphal East and Singjamei Police Sation and Kwakeithel Police Outpost in Imphal West district. They demanded that the police either release unconditionally the five men or arrest them too.
“We were left with no option but to court arrest, as the government failed to release the five village volunteers.” a protester, identified as Th Bimola at Porompat told PTI. “If such village volunteers are arrested, who will protect the Meitei villages...”
The protestors were stopped by the security forces, who used batons and teargas to disperse the crowd, according to PTI.
A mob of 20-25 persons also vandalised and partially burned the home of Deputy Superintendent of Police Ingoucha Singh, who is the officer-in-charge of Imphal Police Station in the Imphal West district, around 3.30 pm, a police officer told Scroll.
Over 200 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 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.