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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 21 February 2024

Manipur: Tribal MLAs allege inhumane excesses by state forces at Moreh after SDPO's killing

The legislators also claimed that the state forces 'resorted to arson, indiscriminate firing, looting of civilian properties, vehicles, household items and unprovoked brutality forcing common people to flee'

PTI Imphal Published 03.11.23, 02:32 PM
Representational Picture

Representational Picture File picture

Ten tribal MLAs of Manipur have expressed concern over the "unprofessional conduct and inhumane excesses" of the state forces against civilians in Moreh town, following the killing of an SDPO earlier this week.

In a joint statement, the legislators belonging to the Kuki-Zomi-Hmar community said while the loss of life of the sub-divisional police officer in the line of duty is condoled, "we would like to highlight the continuing excesses and atrocities perpetrated by the state forces against our people in Moreh and other places in Tengnoupal district based on ground reports".

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The legislators also claimed that the state forces "resorted to arson, indiscriminate firing, looting of civilian properties, vehicles, household items and unprovoked brutality forcing common people to flee".

Asked about the allegations of 10 legislators, officials told PTI that the operations at Moreh were conducted in a manner so that there was no violation of any civilian rights.

Operations were carried out jointly by the state and central forces, they said.

Moreh SDPO Chingtham Anand was shot dead by tribal militants on October 31 when he was inspecting the newly constructed helipad at Eastern ground in the border town.

Following the incident, an operation was launched in the area to apprehend the militants.

Echoing the demand of Kuki bodies, based in Moreh, for the removal of state forces from the border town, the tribal MLAs also appealed to the central government "to intervene into the matter at once and ensure withdrawal of all the commandos deployed in Moreh and other Kuki-Zomi-Hmar tribal areas and replace them with neutral central forces".

Notably, a large mob of hundreds of people on Wednesday attacked a camp of the 1 Manipur Rifles in Imphal to loot its armoury, prompting security personnel to fire several rounds in the air.

Tension had been brewing in the state capital after the SDPO, belonging to the majority community, was shot dead by tribal militants at Moreh town on Tuesday morning.

Both the state and central forces have been deployed at the border town Meanwhile, unidentified gunmen fired at least six rounds at the vehicle of Meitei Leepun Chief Pramod Singh on Friday morning in Langol area in Imphal West district, police said.

Singh, who slammed the Kuki militants several times for the ongoing unrest in the state, was not injured in the firing at his vehicle, an officer said.

An investigation has been initiated to arrest the gunmen, he added.

The state has remained gripped by recurring bouts of violence since ethnic clashes first erupted in May. More than 180 people have been killed since then.

The clashes have occurred over a number of grievances that both sides have against the other, however, the flashpoint of the crisis has been a move to give Meiteis Scheduled Tribe status, which has since been rolled back.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mainly in the hill districts.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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