Manipur: Normal life paralyzed in Kuki-Zo areas due to 12-hour shutdown over arrest of 5 Kukis

Guwahati: The normal life was paralysed in Kuki dominated areas of Manipur following a 12-hour shutdown called by the Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), an apex body of Kuki tribes, in protest against the arrest of five purported village volunteers from their community by the security forces in the last two days.

Some women’s groups of the Kuki-Zo community alleged that personnel of the security forces had beaten local women who were protesting the detention

Security sources however claimed that three members of an insurgent group were arrested after a gunfight in Manipur's Kangpokpi district on Tuesday. Three military-grade assault rifles and over 1,300 bullets were seized from them, security sources said, adding that they launched the operation based on information given by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The Churachandpur-based Kuki Inpi Manipur, in a communication to its offices in all districts, said that an emergency meeting was held over the arrest of these “village volunteers” and the conduct of personnel during the operations on Tuesday, following which the decision was taken to call for a total shutdown for 12 hours on Wednesday, July 10.

It is significant that that hundreds of Kuki-Zo people on Tuesday evening marched to the Superintendent of Police office in Kangpokpi district, calling for the release of the three individuals arrested from the L. Hengjol village in the early hours of Tuesday by the security forces who were acting on inputs from the NIA.

In a statement put out on social media late Tuesday night, the Manipur police said joint security forces of the police and the CRPF were conducting operations in L. Hengjol village under the New Keithelmanbi police station acting on inputs from the NIA around 3.30 am on Tuesday, when there was exchange of fire between the security forces and armed militants.

The three persons arrested were identified by the police as Thangjoel Haokip, Jangjoulen Khongsai, and Jangminlun Singson, with the police adding they also recovered two AK rifles, one MA-1 MK3 rifle, and one SBBL along with over 1300 rounds of assorted ammunitions.

Police refused to identify which underground outfit the individuals belonged to, however, they said that the accused and the seized arms and ammunitions had been handed over to the NIA for necessary legal action.

The KIM said that these arrests and detentions come even as Central and State forces were allegedly turning a blind eye to the movement and activities of the Meitei militants and Arambai Tenggol in the Imphal area.

In a press statement endorsing the shutdown call, the Sadar Hills office of the KIM in Kangpokpi district said, “All Kuki-Zo regional organisations are urged to strictly abide by this resolve to express solidarity for the common cause of our people – the fight against the unlawful oppression, subjugation, and persecution of our people and our legitimate demand for union territory with Legislature for the Kuki-Zo people.”

The Kuki Women Organisation for Human Rights, based in Churachandpur’s Tuibong, also issued a statement alleging that personnel of the Assam Rifles had assaulted women from Phaitol village during their July 8 operations on the border along Jiribam and Tamenglong districts — who were protesting the detention of the two village volunteers. The KWOHR added that security forces also did the same while detaining village volunteers in L. Hengjol.

On the operations conducted in Phaitol village on July 8, security sources said that Assam Rifles was first confronted by women with “thick laathis” when they were taking the armed village volunteers away. The personnel were being beaten
( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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