Along with efforts to restore peace in Manipur, army fights disinformation | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Along with efforts to restore peace in Manipur, army fights disinformation

Jun 05, 2023 09:26 PM IST

In a statement, the army said a video of a training activity in Punjab in 2021 was being claimed to relate to Manipur.

GUWAHATI: The Indian Army on Monday said that a video circulating on social media that claimed there was a scuffle between the Assam Rifles and Manipur Police which led to a person’s death was a fake.

Army, Assam Rifles, CAPF & police personnel during their 'Extensive Area Domination Operations' to bring peace & harmony in violence-hit areas of Manipur. (PTI File Photo)
Army, Assam Rifles, CAPF & police personnel during their 'Extensive Area Domination Operations' to bring peace & harmony in violence-hit areas of Manipur. (PTI File Photo)

“A fake video has emerged depicting casualties of a particular unit of Assam Rifles in Manipur. It is clarified that neither has there been any such clash between Assam Rifles and Manipur Police nor have any casualties occurred,” the rebuttal issued by Lt Col Amit Shukla, PRO (Defence), Kohima, read.

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In the widely-circulated video, a group of people in olive green outfits are seen carrying some injured persons while some others trying to revive people lying on the ground. Social media posts claimed that the video was of a clash between 37 battalion of Assam Rifles and Manipur Police.

The army statement said the video was “of a training activity” in Punjab in 2021.

“This is yet another failed attempt by inimical elements to build hate against those at the forefront of preventing violence,” it added.

The video emerged on social media on Sunday, days after another video of a heated argument between Assam Rifles and Manipur Police personnel went viral on social media. Following this incident, groups in Meitei-dominated Imphal Valley staged protests to demand the withdrawal of Assam Rifles from the state alleging that they were not impartial.

“Ever since clashes erupted in Manipur, Indian Army and Assam Rifles have been at the forefront in rescuing people across communities in an impartial manner. Reprehensibly, inimical elements, on numerous occasions, have made multiple failed attempts to malign the image of security forces in general and Assam Rifles in particular,” the statement issued on Monday read.

It added that the “synergized malicious campaign” was being run against the Assam Rifles battalion as it has prevented many incidents of arson and possible loss of human lives.

“Army and Assam Rifles will continue to work relentlessly till normalcy is restored and would once again request all sections of media to exercise greater than normal prudence, in these trying times in Manipur,” the statement read.

On June 1, Indian Army issued another statement denouncing a message posted on social media which gave out personal details of army officers of a particular community involved in internal security duties in Manipur. The post had cast aspersions on these officers.

“All ranks of Indian Army are race, caste, creed and gender agnostic—fair to all and fear none...the post is an attempt to undermine an institution that is a microcosm of the nation and has never let regional biases interfere in its functioning,” the army statement of June 1 said.

Ethnic violence between Meitei and Kuki communities which started on May 3 has claimed at least 98 lives, injuries to over 300 and displaced more than 35,000 people. A total of 135 columns of the army and Assam Rifles are deployed in Manipur as part of the effort to restore peace.

Meanwhile, the Manipur government on Monday extended the ongoing shutdown of internet services, which started on May 4, by another 5 days till 3pm of June 10. The government said it was done to “curb the spread of false news, rumours and misinformation through social media platforms”.

Differences have cropped up among Kuki groups over the decision by one organisation to lift the blockade of a section of the Imphal-Dimapur NH2 on Sunday following an appeal by Union home minister Amit Shah to allow smooth transportation of essential items.

On Sunday, the Kangpokpi district unit of the Committee on Tribal Unity (COTU) issued a statement that the blockade on NH2 would be suspended for seven days beginning Monday for 4 hours (between 10am and 2pm) to allow movement of essential commodities and medical supplies.

On Monday, several branches of Kuki Students Union condemned the COTU move “for failure to take notice of arson and firing taking place at Sugnu”. The statement added that decisions taken without consensus would be deemed null and void.

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