Manipur, Ethnic conflict

Manipur violence: Death toll rises to 3 in Army-rioters' clash in Kangpokpi

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The death toll due to the exchange of fire between security forces and suspected rioters in Manipur’s Kangpokpi district rose to three as one more person succumbed to injuries on Friday (June 30), officials said.

On Thursday, two people were killed and at least five injured in a gunfight after armed rioters opened fire at Haraothel village.

The Army said security forces personnel “responded in a calibrated manner” to tackle the situation.

Also read: Fresh violence in Manipur; 2 killed, tear gas used to disperse irate mob in Imphal

The mob dispersed by 10 pm, as police and RAF were employed for crowd control, the officials said. Members of the community to which two of the rioters belonged collected their bodies on Thursday and took out a procession to Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s residence here, they said.

The demonstrators, led by women, even dared police to arrest them, and were also seen burning tyres in the middle of the road to prevent police movement, the officials said. As security personnel stopped them from marching to Singh’s residence, the processionists turned violent, prompting police to use tear gas shells and resort to lathicharge to disperse the mob.

Unprovoked firing

Assam Rifles columns were deployed at National Sports University & K Munlai village on Thursday, after intermittent gunfire from automatic weapons was heard from multiple directions towards Haraothel village. An official said unidentified gunmen fired without provocation in the early hours of Thursday and again in the evening.

Giving details of the morning firing, the official Twitter handle of the Army, operating in the region, stated armed rioters opened unprovoked firing at 5.30 am.

Watch | Manipur: Kuki women set up checkposts to protect ghettoized zones | Watch

“Own troops deployed in the area immediately mobilised to prevent escalation of situation. While en route to the site, own columns drew effective fire from armed rioters,” the official Spear Corps handle of the Army said.

It said the troops “responded in a calibrated manner to prevent any collateral damage. Swift action by troops resulted in cessation of firing.”

In another tweet in the evening, the Spear Corps said: “At approx 4 PM, troops deployed in the area heard firing from east of village K Munlai. Further, at approx 5.15 PM, exchange of fire reported from direction of village Bethel, south of National Sports University. Own columns are dominating the area to de-escalate the situation.”

The area is located around 20 km from capital city of Imphal. A candlelight march was also held in Churachandpur on Thursday to pray for peace in Manipur.

Also read: Manipur: SC to hear NGO’s plea seeking protection for Kuki tribals on July 3

More than 100 people have lost their lives in the ethnic violence between Meitei and Kuki communities in the northeastern state so far. Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals – Nagas and Kukis – constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.

(With inputs from agencies)

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