60 weapons looted by mob in Manipur recovered: Officials

By, New Delhi
Jun 01, 2023 12:24 AM IST

The weapons, which went missing over the weekend, were handed over by villagers, most of whom claimed to have found them on roads, the officials said.

At least 60 weapons that were stolen by mobs from police stations and offices of other police units in Thoubal and Imphal West districts of violence-hit Manipur were recovered by forces in the past two days, officials aware of the matter said on Wednesday.

Security personnel patrol an area in Churachandpur. (ANI)
Security personnel patrol an area in Churachandpur. (ANI)

The weapons, which went missing over the weekend, were handed over by villagers, most of whom claimed to have found them on roads, the officials added.

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“We have not acted against anyone because we are busy managing the law-and-order situation in the districts. But action will be taken in the case of theft and robbery that happened at the stations,”a police officer at Thoubal district said on condition of anonymity.

Also Read: Amit Shah reaches violence-hit Manipur, chairs high-level meet

Several units of arms and ammunition have been looted by mobs from several government armouries since May 3, when ethnic violence – between the tribal Kukis, who mostly reside in the hill districts, and the Meiteis, the dominant community in Imphal Valley – first began.

At least 80 people have died and another 40,000 displaced in the state so far.

On Wednesday evening, a spokesperson of the ministry of home affairs (MHA) said that Union home minister Amit Shah directed senior officers of the state police and paramilitary forces to recover the looted weapons at the earliest and restore normalcy in the region.

Also Read: 'Deep sense of loss and hurt’: Congress demands judicial probe into Manipur violence

“The home minister has directed officials to take stern and prompt actions, to prevent violence, against armed miscreants and recover looted weapons to bring back normalcy at the earliest,” the spokesperson said.

On Saturday and Sunday, weapons were looted primarily from Imphal East, Imphal West and Thoubal districts. Mobs barged inside the headquarters of the Manipur Rifles and Indian Reserve Battalions in Imphal East and West, and also targeted the Yairipok and Nongpok Sekmai police stations in Thoubal.

While the state government is yet to provide an exact figure on how many weapons have gone missing, the officer mentioned above said that during the first week, when the violence began on May 3, 1,432 weapons were stolen, of which 545 have been recovered.

Around 500 arms were recently looted on May 27 and 28, the officer added.

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    Prawesh Lama covers crime, policing, and issues of security in Delhi. Raised in Darjeeling, educated in Mumbai, he also looks at special features on social welfare in the National Capital.

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