Manipur: Meitei women protest against Assam Rifles, accusing them of ‘brutality’
Meitei women staged protests against Assam Rifles in the Imphal Valley on Monday (August 7), demanding their removal from violence-hit areas and accusing the paramilitary force of “brutality during the recent agitations”.
The Meitei women, under the collective term of Meira Paibi, which literally means “women torchbearers”, staged sit-in demonstrations in various localities blocking roads. They took the decision to conduct the stir during a convention held in Malom Tulihal area in Imphal West district on Sunday.
In Hodam Leirak area in Imphal West district, dozens of women came out on the streets and blocked one lane of the Tiddim Road, which leads to Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts.
They also staged sit-in demonstrations in Kwakeithel, Uripok and Singjamei areas in Imphal West district and Angom Leikai and Khurai areas in Imphal East district.
Similar protests were also held in Thoubal and Bishnupur districts.
L Mema, a protester at Hodam Leirak, told reporters, “Our protest was necessitated by the continuous brutal crackdown by the Assam Rifles on the public, including women. Evidence has come to light that Assam Rifles is biased and is targeting the Meiteis instead of discharging their duties responsibly and sincerely”
Meanwhile, curfew in the Imphal East and West districts was relaxed from 5 am to noon on Monday. Separate statements were issued by the office of the respective district magistrates in this regard.
“Restriction of movement of the public from their residence is hereby lifted from 5 am to noon on August 7 to facilitate the general public to purchase essential items including medicines and food items,” the notifications stated.
Curfew relaxation was shortened to 5 am to 10.30 am on Saturday after three persons, including a father-son duo, were killed in their sleep and their bodies were later slashed with swords by militants in Bishnupur district.
The curfew relaxation period was from 5 am to 6 pm in the twin Imphal districts before the incident. There was no relaxation of curfew on Sunday.
Ethnic clashes between Kukis and Meiteis broke out in Manipur on May 3, and have been continuing for the last three months, claiming over 160 lives.
(With agency inputs)