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Fresh violence in Manipur: 70 houses, 2 police outposts torched in Jiribam, curfew imposed

At least 70 houses, two police outposts and a forest office were torched after fresh violence erupted in Manipur’s Jiribam district on Saturday. Officials said a contingent of more than 70 state police commandos was airlifted from Imphal to Jiribam to assist security personnel in their operations against militants.

According to an officer, suspected militants torched more than 70 houses in Lamtai Khunou, Dibong Khunou, Nunkhal and Begra villages. He said the villagers vacated their residences and took shelter in a relief camp.

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Around 239 Meitei people, mostly women and children, were evacuated from peripheral areas of Jiribam on Friday. They were moved to a newly set up relief camp at a multi-sports complex in the district, the officials told news agency PTI.

Jiribam SP transferred

The superintendent of police was transferred following the violence. The transfer order was issued hours after police outposts of Jiri Mukh and Choto Bekra and the Goakhal forest beat office were set on fire this morning, the officer said.

The Manipur government transferred Jiribam SP A Ghanashyam Sharma to the post of additional director of the Manipur Police Training College, according to an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms.

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M Pradip Singh, who was serving as the additional director of the police training college, will take charge as the senior superintendent of police of the Jiribam district.

How it started

The incident was reported days after suspected militants killed a 59-year-old man.

Violence broke out in Jiribam in the ethnic strife-torn Manipur on Thursday evening after suspected militants killed a man, identified as Soibam Saratkumar Singh. Singh went missing after he had gone to his farm on June 6, an official was quoted by PTI as saying.

He said that Singh’s body was found with wounds made by a sharp object. Following the recovery of Singh’s body, locals reportedly set a few abandoned structures on fire. Prohibitory orders were clamped in the region later.

Curfew imposed

The Manipur government imposed a curfew in Jiribam district for an indefinite period after people staged protests over the killing of a 59-year-old man by suspected militants. The prohibitory orders were clamped on Thursday night.

Locals reportedly protested in front of the Jiribam Police Station, demanding that their licenced firearms taken from them in the wake of elections be returned to them after the completion of the polls, PTI reported.

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“There is the likelihood of widespread disturbance to peace and public tranquillity or riot or an affray..because of unlawful activities of anti-social elements,” the official told PTI, citing the orders issued by the Office of District Magistrate Jiribam.

The local administration also prohibited “assembly of five persons or more, which is likely to turn unlawful, carrying of firearms, sticks… and movement of any person outside their respective residences within the revenue jurisdiction of the district”.

Jiribam has a diverse ethnic composition comprising Meiteis, Muslims, Nagas, Kukis and non-Manipuris. It had remained unaffected by the ethnic strife that has been raging in Manipur since May last year.

According to PTI, the ethnic conflict between Imphal valley-based Meiteis and hills-based Kukis has led to the deaths of over 200 people and rendered thousands of people homeless.

The National Investigation Agency recently arrested one militant commander from Imphal in “Transnational Conspiracy to Exacerbate Manipur Violence.”

Newly-elected Manipur MP reacts

Newly elected Congress MP from the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat Angomcha Bimol Akoijam urged the state government to protect the lives and properties of the people of Jiribam district.

“I have talked to district officials of Jiribam. Those in the town are being provided security, while those in peripheral areas are not being provided security,” Akoijam was quoted by PTI as saying.

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