It is already nine months when Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on January 29 appealed to the people to entrust the responsibility to protect Manipur’s unity and integrity to the Government and not to create troubles in the valley districts.
Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren at the flagging-off ceremony of the Imphal Ring Road Project held at Takyel Khongbal Maning Leikai in Imphal West on January 29 said the State is passing through a difficult phase and it is time for the people to unite and identify who the real enemies are.
“We will never allow them to win or achieve it. More than 3,000 State forces have been deployed at peripheral areas,” CM Biren said and appealed to the people “not to foment disturbances in Imphal Valley. Let the valley be peaceful. Let the protection of Manipur be our sole duty. No more rallies. Let’s identify and face the real enemies of the State”.
Manipur Chief Minister Nongthomba Biren also claimed that the State has improved a lot during the last six years and the relationship between police and people have improved. “However, we cannot tolerate elements who want to destroy the State by supplying drugs, by engaging in widespread deforestation and poppy cultivation and bringing in illegal immigrants from outside”, CM Biren said.
“We need to unite and stop making allegations. There may be lapses but we need to forgive and forget to save the land”, the Chief Minister continued.
Further, Chief Minister stated that the State is passing through a difficult phase but it is not the first time. CM Biren even recalled the recalled the Kuki-Naga violent conflict during 1992-97 and said that over 1000 were killed in the violent conflict.
“Today, we are struggling. We are dealing with elements who want to break up a State with more than 2,000 years of recored history. The legacy of erstwhile kingdom was protected by ‘our ancestors’ with just swords and spears. The State has not slept for more than nine months now. There is no force which can disintegrate Manipur.” he said.
Assuring that the Government will not succumb to the pressure nor allow the State to break apart under any circumstances, the Chief Minister appealed to the people not to worry too much but have faith in the Government.
Stating that over 3500 personnel of IRB, Manipur Rifles and State police have been deployed at vulnerable and foothill areas, he urged the people to understand who the foes are and join the movement to safeguard Manipur.
However, unfortunately, the next day January 30, Kuki-Zomi militants carried out fresh attacks on Koutruk village in Imphal West district from around 2pm and continued till 5:30pm.
In the attack carried out by Kuki-Zomi militants in the intervening area of Koutruk in Imphal West and Bethel in Kangpokpi district, two village volunteers were killed and another two sustained injuries. The two deceased are identified as Maisnam Khaba aka Ibomcha, 23 son of Maisnam Hemanta of Sagoltongba Mamang Leikai in Imphal West and Nongthombam Michealdev, 34, son of late Nongthombam Imo of Konung Leikai, Palace Compound in Imphal East.
The two injured are Wangjam Vikas, 20, son of Baleshore of Irilbung Machahal and Ngangom Sanjit, 19 son of Ng Sarat of Kadangband Part-2. W Vikas sustained bullet injury on his right leg and Ng Sanjit fractured his waist while jumping down the hill, reports said.
It may be mentioned that in Koutruk area, 21 personnel drawn from various IRB battalions while in nearby National Sports University campus 22 personnel from Imphal West district police and 23 personnel from 7 MR were stationed.
On the other hand, Kuki-Zomi militants also attacked Khamenlok area under the jurisdiction of Sagolmang Police Station in Imphal East district at around 9 am on the same day, January 30. The Kuki-Zomi militants fired three bombs and several rounds of bullets from Ramchandra Hill. However, no casualties were reported in the incident.
Furthermore, the Kuki-Zomi militants bombarded and rained bullets against Meitei villages and civilians on the western side of Thamnapokpi and Naranseina under Moirang police station inBishnupur district on February 1.
There is no respite in the offensives against Meitei civilians as Kuki-Zomi militants bombarded and rained bullets. The attack of Kuki-Zomi militants began at around 11 am and lasted about 45 minutes. It is reported that the Kuki-Zomi militants launched the attack from their bunkers set up at Khoirentak and Leingangtabi villages in Churachandpur district towards a post of 2nd IRB at Naransena and bunkers of village volunteers located at Amu Loukol near the IRB post. One of the bombs fired by the Kuki militants exploded at the cemetery near the gate of 2nd IRB camp which is situated on the western side of Thamnapokpi and Naranseina.
It is further reported that the Central Security Forces deployed in the area didn’t retaliate nor allowed the village volunteers to engage in a firefight.
A heated argument broke out between the womenfolk of Phubala, Sunusiphai, Naranseina, Thamnapokpi, Ngangkhalawai and Moirang; and personnel of Sikh Regiment shortly after the latter asked the Meitei village volunteers to vacate the area and entrust the responsibility to face the Kuki-Zomi militants to them.
The village volunteers and womenfolk asked why only they were chased away and not a single round was fired at the Kuki-Zomi militants. Speaking to the media, the locals said that they are displeased at how the Central Security Forces responded to the attack. They said that the Central Security Forces didn’t do anything to stop the attack other than stopping the Meitei village volunteers to face the Kuki-Zomi militants, , according to reports.
Saying that Kuki-Zomi militants might have been targeting the 2nd IRB camp in their area, the locals expressed desire for the Central Security Forces to be impartial if they are here to protect lives and properties.
Considering the series of attacks carried out by the Kuki-Zomi militants against the Meitei villages and civilians in the peripheries of the valley districts from the surrounding mountains and dissatisfaction the people with the security measures, the Government still cannot walk the talk even as the Chief Minister appealed to the valley people to entrust the responsibility to protect Manipur’s unity and integrity to the Government.
Therefore, the Government should walk the talk to protect the lives and properties of the people besides Manipur’s unity and territorial integrity.
Senior Editor: Imphal Review of Arts and Politics