Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Violence in Manipur escalates

The situation in Manipur remained tense as violence spread to Senapati district where protestors on Monday torched several vehicles including two trucks loaded with essential items in Mao and Makhan area, a bus in Sekmai area while another group of protestors torched two vehicles– bolero and maruti swift, at Seijang area of Imphal East district.
Altogether eight vehicles were torched by protestors at various locations. However, no casualty or injury was reported, police said. The stand-off between state government and United Naga Council (UNC) contnued in both hills and valley areas.
Inter-community tension returned to Manipur since chief minister O. Ibobi Singh announced the creation of seven new districts on December 9, taking the total number of districts in Manipur to 16. Manipur currently has four valley and five hill districts. The United Naga Council (UNC) has opposed the move, accusing Manipur of taking portions which were “traditionally ancestral Naga land” and adding these to the newly formed districts.
Indefinite curfew continues to remain in force in Imphal East district where mobile data services were suspended since Sunday to prevent spread of rumours. This will be in force till December 25, an official stated.
Night curfew was re-imposed in Imphal West district from Monday evening, an order of the District Magistrate stated. Unidentified persons torched two vehicles including one passenger bus at Naga Taphou area in Senapati district in the morning, a police officer said. Last night at around 10.30 p.m., four vehicles of former minister Marung Makunga were vandalised at Saombung in Imphal East district, police said.
Meanwhile, Manipur chief minister, O. Ibobi has appealed for peace and harmony among different ethnic groups of the state 
Earlier, in a televised address to the people of Manipur, Ibobi assured the Christian population in Manipur of full protection to allow them to reach their homes and celebrate Christmas without any trouble.
Police personnel have been put on high alert to contain any further outbreak of violence in the wake of Sunday’s incident at Imphal-Ukhrul Road where 22 vehicles were torched and vandalised by a mob.
NPF flays violence 
DIMAPUR, DEC 19 (NPN): Naga People’s Front (NPF) on Monday said it was anguished and concerned by the recent spurt of violence “unleashed by valley based organizations and individuals of Manipur against the tribals, especially targeting innocent Naga travellers on December 18”, while on their way to their respective villages to spend Christmas holidays.
In a statement, NPF media and press bureau said it was a matter of great concern to note that the Imphal valley based people had attacked innocent Naga travelers and passengers, on December 18, “overturning the buses and several other vehicles and burning them, causing injuries to many and looting their belongings”.
While condemning the incident, NPF was suspicious that some “dirty game” was being played by some individuals under the patronage of the present Manipur government, ahead of the assembly election. 
“Such kind of barbaric acts by way of making the innocent public as soft target will only create more bitterness between the hill and valley people,” NPF stated. 
Meanwhile, NPF has fervently appealed to the citizens of Manipur to sit across the table and resolve all issues instead of resorting to violence, saying “no individual or community is going to benefit by attacking each other”.
Further, NPF has sought immediate intervention of the Central government before the situation worsens, alleging that the Manipur government under the chief minister O. Ibobi was unable to contain the situation.
Rio asks PM to intervene
Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and former chief minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio, on Monday wrote to the Prime Minister on the grave situation in Manipur and sought his urgent attention in the greater interest of the country, saying the people have placed their hope on the PMO to intervene and save the situation.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Rio said the communal riots, arson, looting and serious human rights abuses were taking place in Manipur. He said the Naga community has been specifically targeted and claimed that there was “obviously political motivation behind the well-planned attacks.”
Nagaland’s lone Lok Sabha MP stated that thousands of people have been impacted including students who were returning home for festive season. “Sadly, even women and children have not been spared,” he said.
Rio said that “unfortunately” there was no semblance of law and order or presence of any law enforcing agencies to protect the innocents from the unlawful and anti-social elements.
Pointing out that the urgent need of the hour was direct intervention of the Centre to ensure prevalence of law and order and security for innocent public, the MP said the central government can no longer remain a silent spectator. 
He also demanded that a high level investigation by appropriate agency be instituted so those shaming the country and the spirit of democracy were brought to book and punished as per laws of the land.

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