Manipur violence: Death toll touches 175 mark, few stolen weapons recovered, says police
A total of 5,668 arms were lost from the state armoury since the beginning of the violence. The violence began in May and has displaced many people.
Ethic clashes in Manipur have claimed 175 lives over four months and at least 96 bodies are still lying unclaimed, the Manipur Police said on Thursday, giving data of the number of injuries and arson cases, and adding that only around a quarter of the arms stolen by mobs during the violence has been recovered.
In a hurriedly called press conference in Imphal, Inspector General of Police (AP/Operations) IK Muivah accompanied by IGPs Jayantakumar (Administration), Nishit Kumar Ujjawal (Intelligence) besides IGP (Zone II) K Kabib read out statistics that revised the death toll upwards and painted a grim picture of the violence that has engulfed the northeastern state since May 3.
IPG Muivah said that 175 people have died, 1,118 sustained injuries and 32 are missing. At least 5,172 cases of arson — including 4,786 houses and 386 religious places — were reported in these four months, he said.
“175 people have died, 1,118 sustained injuries and 33 are missing. At least 5,172 cases of arson -- including 4,786 houses and 386 religious places (254 churches and 132 temples) — were reported in these four months,” said Muivah.
A total of 5,668 arms were lost from the state armoury since the beginning of the violence. Of this, forces have recovered 1,329. Another 15,050 ammunition and 400 bombs were recovered, he added.
Muivah said security forces destroyed as many as 360 illegal bunkers in the state and that barricades set up between Phougakchao Ikhai and Kangvai — covering about one kilometre stretch along the Imphal-Churachandpur road — were also removed on Thursday.
The barricades serve as a boundary of a buffer zone, manned by security forces, to ensure that people from the warring Meitei and Kuki communities do not cross over and engage in violence. On September 6, thousands of men and women had defied prohibitory orders to push for the removal of the barricades.
The announcements came after a particularly violent couple of weeks, with attacks by armed miscreants claiming at least seven lives.
“The police along with central armed police forces (CAPFs) and the army are trying to bring some form of normalcy and peace,” said Muivah.
Regarding the inflow of supplies, the police officers said that security convoys were running smoothly on National Highway 37 between Imphal and Jiribam. The volume of the goods in transit also increased with the opening of the National Highway 2 from Imphal in Manipur to Dimapur in Nagaland from Thursday.
The police control room also shared a press note on Thursday evening, confirming the movement of 315 vehicles along National Highway 37, 269 vehicles to Imphal and 281 from Imphal along the highway with essential items.
On Thursday, the authorities also extended curfew relaxations for all areas in Imphal East and Imphal West districts from 5 am to 9 pm, against the usual timing of 5am to 6 pm.
Read here: Manipur cop killed in fresh flare-up
Clashes in Manipur first broke out on May 3 in Churachandpur town after tribal groups called for protests against a proposed tweak to the state’s reservation matrix, granting scheduled tribe (ST) status to the Meitei community. Violence quickly engulfed the state where ethnic fault lines run deep, displacing tens of thousands of people who fled burning homes and neighbourhoods into jungles, often across state borders. The clashes have virtually partitioned the state between the dominant Meitei community that lives in the plains and constitutes 53% of the state’s population, and the tribal Kuki group, which lives in the hill districts and makes up 16% of the state.