Manipur Unrest: Protesters Stage Strong Demonstration Against Army, Air Firing Used to Control Situation

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Thursday, May 02, 2024
Manipur Unrest: Protesters Stage Strong Demonstration Against Army, Air Firing Used to Control Situation
Confrontation in Manipur: Meira Paibis Lead Protests as Police Seize 11 Armed Individuals
In Manipur's Bishnupur district, a recent incident has heightened tensions as the police detained 11 armed civilians claiming to be part of a volunteer security force. This action triggered a confrontation between security forces and local activists.

According to the police, the soldiers detained the men and confiscated their weapons. They were then surrounded by a group of female demonstrators, led by Meira Paibis, who demanded the release of the detained men and the return of their weapons.

The demonstrators argued that the 11 individuals were part of a "village defense volunteer" group and that disarming them amidst ethnic tensions could leave their villages vulnerable, especially with armed groups from nearby hills posing a threat.

On the day of the incident, female protesters pushed back soldiers who stood in front of an armored vehicle. Amidst screams, the soldiers resorted to firing several rounds into the air to disperse the crowd, with minimal effect.

One elderly woman could be heard urging others to stay, while another questioned why only their group was being disarmed, suggesting that everyone should be disarmed.

Following the confrontation, a team from the Manipur Police arrived at the scene and engaged in dialogue with the demonstrators. Subsequently, a joint team of army and police left the area with the confiscated weapons. However, the demonstrators obstructed the road with a discarded vehicle, causing further disruption.

The Ministry of Home Affairs stated that central forces such as Assam Rifles, Border Security Force, and Central Reserve Police Force are deployed in sensitive areas of Manipur where clashes between Meiteis and Kukis are common. However, both communities also harbor hundreds of armed individuals who identify themselves as "village defense volunteers."

The incident comes amidst rising ethnic tensions in Manipur, with a demand from the Kuki group for a separate administration just before the Lok Sabha elections. This demand highlighted security concerns, leading to the call for their community members to keep their licensed firearms secure in police stations.