Manipur: All 10 Kuki MLAs accuse police of molesting women, assaulting civilians

Fresh flare up widens social division in Manipur

Guwahati: The killing of a sub-divisional police officer Chingtham Anand by suspected Kuki militants has widened the social division in trouble-torn Manipur further with all 10 Kuki MLAs including eight belonging to ruling BJP accusing the state police of molesting and assaulting people of their community.

In fact, killing of the SDPO in Moreh bordering Myanmar triggered an angry reaction among Meitei in Imphal valley where a mob in an obvious retaliatory offensive tried to snatch arms from security forces, forcing the administration to re-impose curfew since Wednesday.

In their statement, the 10 Kuki MLAs while condoling the death of police officer said, “In the operations that are underway at Moreh, the state forces resorted to arson, indiscriminate firing, looting of civilian properties, vehicles, household items, including valuable ornaments, documents, gold, cash and unprovoked brutality forcing common people, including women and children to flee into the nearby jungle.”

The statement said, “Several women have been mercilessly assaulted and molested by the commandos and admitted in the local hospital.”

The MLAs said that the state police may be trying to arrest those responsible for the officer’s death, but they cannot condone their “unrestrained illegal and barbaric activities”.

“The lack of faith that our people have in the state forces stemmed from the innumerable instances of their direct involvement in attacking Kuki-Zomi-Hmar villages during the current conflict,” they said.

The legislators said that they have been voicing their concerns at various forums, including the Centre, against the deployment of Manipur commands and called for their removal from Kuki -Zomi-Hmar-dominated districts.

They said that despite their appeals, more commandos have been dispatched to Moreh that has resulted in fresh disturbances and violence.

“We appeal to the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India), to intervene in the matter at once and ensure withdrawal of all the commandos deployed in Moreh and other Kuki-Zomi-Hmar tribal areas and replace them with neutral central forces,” the MLAs said. “Further, we demand that all erring state police commando personnel should be booked as per law.”

However, Tengnoupal district’s Superintendent of Police Luikham Lanmiyo told reporters that some cases of harassment and ransacking of properties have been reported. “But no incidents of molestation of women have happened,” Mr Lanmiyo said.

The recent flare-up in violence has widened the division between the two communities in the trouble-torn Manipur reeling under ethnic conflict.

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