Protesters Clash with Security Forces in Manipur Over Blocked Access to Torbung

Editor Editor
Thursday, September 07, 2023
Protesters Clash with Security Forces in Manipur Over Blocked Access to Torbung
Protesters Clash with Security Forces in Manipur Demanding Access to Displaced Village
Hundreds of protesters gathered at Phougakchao Ikhai in Manipur's Bishnupur district on September 6, launching a determined push to breach the Army Barricade that stands as a barrier to reaching the abandoned houses in Torbung, situated under Bishnupur district and located some distance away from Churachandpur.

The day unfolded with a gathering of people in the early morning hours, despite a significant presence of both state and central security forces deployed in the area. As a preventative measure, a full curfew was imposed in five valley districts, but many protestors from various regions converged at Phougakchao Ikhai, determined to make their voices heard.

Tensions flared as security forces, consisting of personnel from RAF, the Assam Rifles, and the Manipur Police, resorted to firing tear gas shells in an effort to regain control of the situation. During this protest, a distressing incident resulted in at least 80 protestors sustaining injuries, including one journalist, when security forces used tear gas and mock bombs to disperse the crowd.

The protesters had a clear demand: they sought permission to visit Torbung, a location where Meitei people had been displaced due to ongoing ethnic clashes since May. An extended argument between the security forces and protestors marked the early hours of the protest. In a bid to quell the escalating tension, security forces eventually resorted to firing tear gas shells and mock bombs.

It is noteworthy that COCOMI, an umbrella organization representing Manipur, had issued an ultimatum to remove the army barricade from Phougakchao Ikhai on or before August 30. Unfortunately, the authorities failed to heed this demand, and this irresponsible act was met with strong condemnation from the people of the state.

The clash between protesters and security forces reflects the persistent and deep-seated grievances of the Meitei people in Manipur. As the situation continues to evolve, it remains to be seen how the authorities will respond to these demands for access to the displaced village of Torbung.