6 bodies in RIMS morgue; situation grim in parts of Manipur; CM Biren appeals for peace; additional central paramilitary arrives

File photo: A dead boy brought to RIMS in the first week of May 2023/ Ukhrul Times

Imphal: Violence-hit Manipur State in the wake of sporadic clashes between the Meitei/Meetei and Kuki communiteis in parts of Imphal, Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Bishnupur and Moreh areas on Wednesday, which involved reports of vandalism, violence, killings and arson, continues to remain tense on Thursday.

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Ukhrul Times have learned that there are 6 dead bodies which have been brought to Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal (RIMS) morgue on Thursday. Apart from the 6 dead bodies, there are 31 injured brought in since last night of whom, two are said to be in critical condition.

Of the 6 dead bodies, 3 have been identified as Ningthoujam Dijen (27) of Moirang Kampu Mayai Leikai;
Khoirom Meiraba (20) Ithai; Thangjathang Haokip (35) for Moreh Ward 7. The other three remains unidentified.

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The State government shut Telecom services (Mobile data services) in the entire jurisdiction of Manipur with immediate effect from Wednesday evening owing to what the government is calling, “anti-social elements using social media to extensively transmit images, hate speech and hate video messages inciting the passion of the public.” The State government also clamped curfew under Section 144 CrPC in various districts of Manipur after violence broke out.

Must read | Opposed to Meetei/Meitei ST inclusion in Manipur, ATSUM to hold ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ on May 3

Situation in Manipur turned violent after reports of violence erupted on May 3 during ‘Tribal Solidarity March” organised under the aegis of All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur, the apex tribal student body in the State against the demand for inclusion of the Meitei/Meetei community in the Scheduled Tribe category.

There have been several push back from the tribal Kuki community over the eviction drive carried out by Manipur government and demolition of houses in the valley which the government says are illegal encroachment inside reserved forest and wetland areas.

Must read | HC Manipur directs state govt to submit recommendation for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in ST list

In an unprecedented move, recently, amid the ongoing demand and opposition to accord ST-status to the Meitei/Meetei community, acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Manipur, Justice M.V. Muralidharan, issued a notification directing the Manipur government to submit a recommendation to the Tribal Affairs Ministry, the government of India, for the inclusion of the Meitei/Meetei community in the scheduled Tribe list of the Indian Constitution.

Amidst the chaos and wake of widespread clashes in her home-state Manipur, Mary Kom, Olympian and Rajya Sabha MP took to twitter and wrote, “My state Manipur is burning, kindly help,” as she tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh.

Mary Kom also spoke to ANI and said, “I am not feeling good about the situation In Manipur. Since last night the situation has deteriorated. I appeal State & Central Government to take steps for the situation & maintain peace & security in the state. It is unfortunate that some people lost their family members in this violence. This situation must get normal at the earliest: Boxer & former Rajya Sabha MP MC Mary Kom on Manipur violence.”

On Wednesday evening in Churachandpur district, forest beat office at Saikot, Mata, Muallum, Bungmual and Singat were reportedly burned partially, while peaceful rally was carried out in the district.

Unverified sources also claimed there are several casualties from both the communities, apart from burning down of houses and religious establishments in the sensitive ares of the State at the time of filing this report

Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh on Thursday morning appealed people of the State, under the prevailing tense law and order situation for restoration of peace and harmony. In his appeal, N Biren Sing said that some parts of Imphal, Moreh, Bishnupur, Churachandpur and Kangpokpi, which he called “sensitive areas” in the State witnessed violence, vandalism and arson between two communities (Meitei/Meetei and Kuki communities) which N Biren maintained, is due to “misunderstanding and communication gap”. He also said that 35 ethnic communities in the Sate have been living in harmony since time immemorial.

Additional central paramilitary forces has been called in to curb the worsening law and order situation in Manipur. As per sources, the central government has already started rushing in Rapid Action Force at Imphal international airport to be deployed in vulnerable areas in Manipur.

Must read | Opposed to Meetei/Meitei ST inclusion in Manipur, ATSUM to hold ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ on May 3

Meanwhile, chief minister of Mizoram Zoramthanga in a letter to N Biren Singh said that he is deeply pained by the violence that has flared up in parts of Manipur and the underlining tension between the Meitei community and the tribals there, he wrote.

“I urge you to exercise the kind of leadership that the people of your own State know you are capable of and reach out to all parties involved to try and end to this senseless violence,” Zoramthanga wrote.

He also assured of highest of cooperation from his government and from the people of Mizoram as he prayed for reconciliation and healing in Manipur state.

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