At least five persons were killed and 18 injured in Manipur’s Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts following continuous gunbattle between Kukis and Meiteis over the last 72 hours, officials said on August 31.
An official said the firing was continuing in the foothills of Khoirentak in the Bishnupur district and adjoining Chingphei and Khousabung areas in the Churachandpur district.
The violence started on August 29 when a village volunteer aged around 30 years was killed following heavy firing in the Khoirentak area, an official said.
According to officials, a fresh round of firing between the two groups started on Thursday morning after a few hours of lull since Wednesday evening.
A person who sustained bomb splinter injuries on his head in Wednesday’s violence died on the way to Guwahati via Mizoram, officials added.
Also Read: Manipur violence: Top tribal body calls for complete shutdown in Churachandpur district
Another injured person, who also sustained splinter injuries, died around 9 a.m. on Thursday in Churachandpur district hospital where he was undergoing treatment, officials said.
According to officials, out of the five persons who sustained splinter injuries at the Chingphei area on Wednesday evening, three were taken to Churachandpur district hospital. While one was hit by splinters on his head, the others sustained injuries on their shoulders, legs and back, officials said.
On Tuesday, two men were killed and six injured in separate incidents of violence near Narainsena village in Bishnupur. While one of the victims was killed by a bullet wound, the other died when a countrymade gun he was using misfired and hit him in his face, sources said.
Meanwhile, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) called for an emergency shutdown in Churachandpur with immediate effect, with the toll of the ongoing violence climbing to five. Essential services, including water and medical supply, are exempted from the purview of the shutdown, a statement by the ITLF said.
A separate statement by the front claimed that the victims included singer LS Mangboi Lhungdim (50), who composed the song "I Gam Hilou Ham" (Is this not our land?) after the ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3, and it became a rallying cry for tribal unity.
"Militants have lately been pounding tribal areas with mortar shells stolen from police stations and armouries, and this is leading to high tribal casualties. The ITLF once again urges the government and security forces to prioritise the retrieval of looted weapons from the Meitei community," the statement said.
"These unending attacks are clearly a ploy to derail political talks between tribal SoO groups and the central government. The latest round of talks was held on Thursday and will continue on Friday," the statement added. Search operations were conducted by security forces in the fringe and vulnerable areas of Kangpokpi, Thoubal, Churachandpur and Imphal-West districts and recovered 5 arms, 31 ammunition, 19 explosives, 3 packs of IED material, Manipur police wrote on X.
Police have also set up 130 nakas in different districts and detained 1,646 persons in connection with various violations. More than 160 people have been killed and several hundred injured since ethnic violence broke out in Manipur 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.
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