A Manipur town bordering Myanmar has seen a fresh burst of violence, with a transit camp of security forces being attacked by a mob, prompting an exchange of fire. A forest department building has also been set ablaze.
The violence has been reported in Tengnoupal district’s Moreh town and comes after a period of relative peace for a few days.
Civil society groups claimed trouble erupted in the Moreh Bazar area after some women, who had gone to shop for essentials during a relaxation of curfew, were allegedly accosted and thrashed by some personnel from the security forces. This led to a heated argument and the women blocked the road to the market in protest.
Angered by the action of the security forces, a group of people then set fire to some abandoned houses, which were being used by some personnel as transit accommodation during their posting in the area.
Sources in the police said tear gas shells were used to disperse the crowd and, amid the commotion, some personnel from the security forces fired live rounds. They said people in the mob fired back at the forces.
Government officials also confirmed that a forest department building had been torched and footage obtained by NDTV from the district shows clouds of smoke rising from several buildings. More security forces have now been posted in the area.
A report by news agency PTI said two buses used by security forces to transport personnel were set ablaze by a mob in Kangpokpi district last evening.
The incident occurred at Sapormeina, where local residents stopped the buses bearing Manipur registration numbers and insisted on checking if any member of another community was on board. Some of the people in the mob then set the buses on fire, but no casualties were reported, the report stated.
Over 140 people have lost their lives and more than 3,000 have been injured in the violence in Manipur, which began on May 3 when a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status. Over 50,000 people remain displaced.