Manipur: Situation calm but tense in Imphal after students clash with RAF; 45 injured
The state govt has re-imposed a ban on internet mobile services with immediate effect till 7.45 pm of Oct 1 to prevent the spread of misinformation and rumours
The situation remained calm but tense in Singjamei area of Imphal on Wednesday morning (September 27) after a clash between students and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel left 45 protesters injured the previous night.
Manipur Police, CRPF, and RAF personnel were seen deployed in strength throughout Imphal Valley in anticipation of possible protests and violence.
A clash occurred on Tuesday night (September 26) between RAF personnel and locals protesting the killing of two students, who had been missing since July 6, prompting the law enforcers to lob tear gas shells and fire rubber bullets at the agitators and baton-charge them, leaving 45 of the protesters, mostly students, injured.
Although the state government has declared a holiday for schools on Wednesday (September 27), students of some Imphal-based institutions vowed to congregate at their schools, sparking speculation of more protests later in the day.
"Security has been beefed up to prevent any untoward incident," an official said.
Tense calm prevails
A tense calm prevailed in Singjamei even though shops and business establishments were open and vehicles plied the roads.
The state government has relaxed curfew restrictions from 5 am to 9 pm in Imphal East and Imphal West district on Wednesday (September 27) to facilitate the general public to purchase essential items including medicines and food, an official notification said.
"However, the relaxation shall not include any gathering/sit-in protests/rally without obtaining approval from the competent authority," it stated.
Following the clashes, the state government has re-imposed a ban on internet mobile services with immediate effect till 7.45 pm of October 1 to prevent the spread of misinformation and rumours.
It was recently lifted after more than four months of imposition on May 3 when the ethnic clashes began.
The state government has declared a holiday for schools on September 27 and 29 in view of the prevailing law and order situation, with September 28 being a public holiday in view of Milad Un-Nabi (Prophet Muhammad's birthday).
CRPF / RAF deny making casteist remarks
The CRPF/RAF has refuted making casteist remarks while dealing with demonstrators protesting the killing of two students who had been missing since July 6, Manipur Police has said.
The clarification came after a video went viral where an RAF personnel was allegedly heard stating, "It's not our community, do whatever you want (humara jaati nahi hain, kuch bhi karo)," made the rounds on social media inviting widespread condemnation from social media users.
In a post on 'X' on Tuesday night (September 26), the police said, "A video is being circulated on WhatsApp groups/Twitter showing that RAF personnel while dealing with violent mob are passing casteist remarks. The voice in the clip is not of RAF personnel. It appears that video maker has intentionally recorded casteist remarks in his own voice to tarnish the image of RAF troops. The alleged video has been made to defame and discourage the RAF personnel who are performing their duty with high level of dedication and sincerity."
"RAF personnel remained deployed in different parts of Imphal city for law-and-order duty throughout the day and even during night hours. RAF personnel work on the principle of use of minimum force and graded response to the situation" it said.
"The RAF troops have been diligently serving the nation and playing a pivotal role in restoration of law-and-order situation in Manipur," it added.
More than 175 people have been killed and several hundreds injured since ethnic clashes broke out in the northeastern state on May 3, when a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe status.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal valley, while tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mostly in the hill districts.
(With inputs from agencies)