1 Dead, 25 Injured After Mob Tries To Storm Police Station In Manipur Churachandpur Over Cop’s Sacking

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1 Dead, 25 Injured After Mob Tries To Storm Police Station In Manipur's Churachandpur Over Cop's Sacking

The police said there is tension in Manipur’s Churachandpur district after fresh protests broke out

Imphal:

A person was killed and 25 others were injured in a clash with the security forces after hundreds of people came out in Manipur’s Kuki-Zo tribes-dominated Churachandpur district today to protest against the suspension of a head constable after a selfie of him with “armed miscreants” went viral.

The police said there is tension in the district. Protesters were seen surrounding the office of the Superintendent of Police, demanding the reinstatement of the head constable, Siamlalpaul, who took the selfie in a bunker of “armed miscreants” and “village defence volunteers” atop a hill.

The protesters set a bus and other structures outside the district police chief’s office on fire. 

“A departmental inquiry is being contemplated against Siamlalpaul of Churachandpur district police, as a clip has gone viral on social media showing him making a video with armed men on February 14,” the suspension order by the Churachandpur Superintendent of Police Shivanand Surve said.

Manipur has been seeing gunfights between rival armed groups – who call themselves “village defence volunteers” – amid the ethnic tensions between the hill-majority Kuki-Zo tribes and the valley-majority Meiteis.

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The police posted on the microblogging platform X that the Rapid Action Force (RAF) has fired tear gas shells to disperse the protesters in Churachandpur, 65 km from the state capital Imphal. Several protesters were injured.

“A mob numbering approximately 300-400 attempted to storm the office of SP (Superintendent of Police) CCP (Churachandpur) today, pelting stones, etc. The SF (security forces)including RAF are responding appropriately by firing tear gas shells to control the situation. Things are under watch,” the Manipur Police said in the post on X.

The protesters alleged the head constable has been suspended unfairly, and should be reinstated. Churachandpur, a district dominated by the Kuki-Zo tribes, was one of the areas most affected by the ethnic clashes that began in May 2023.

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The Kuki-Zo tribes have repeatedly alleged the involvement of the state police in attacking their villages. The police have refuted these allegations at every turn, and instead pointed at the alleged involvement of Kuki-Zo insurgents in bolstering “village defence volunteers”.

The Kuki-Zo civil society group Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) in a statement late on Thursday said the Churachandpur police chief is “entirely responsible for tonight’s incident in the district…”

The ITLF alleged videos have been doing the rounds on social media in the past few months showing Manipur Police personnel fighting alongside armed groups and attacking Kuki-Zo areas. “But no action has been taken against them,” the ITLF said.

Civil Society Group Ex-Leader Seeks FIR Against Manipur Police Officer

The former leader of a civil society group has written to the Manipur Police to file a case against a senior officer for allegedly threatening to kill him.

H Thangtinlen Daniel Mate, the former chief of the Tengnoupal unit Kuki Students Organisation (KSO), in the letter alleged that the Senior Superintendent of Police (Combat) Colonel Nectar Sanjenbam (retired) dialled him at night and threatened to kill him.

“I received a call from Mr Nectar’s phone number… and because it was late at night I did not receive the call. Then after a few minutes I received a life-threatening text message… The text said that he knows me and that he was going to kill me,” Mr Mate said in the letter to the officer in charge of Tengnoupal police station on Thursday.

“… I have not done anything against this person or any person to deserve such a life-threatening warning,” he said.

No FIR has been filed yet.

Colonel Nectar had played a key role in India’s surgical strikes in Myanmar in 2015. The Manipur government appointed him Senior Superintendent of Police (Combat) in August 2023 for a five-year tenure. The retired army officer has served in the 21 Para (Special Forces). He was awarded the Kirti Chakra – the second-highest peacetime gallantry award — and Shaurya Chakra, the third highest.

The ethnic violence in Manipur between the Kuki-Zo tribes and the Meiteis over disagreements on land, resources, political representation, and affirmative action policies has dragged on for nine months now. Over 180 have died and 50,000 have been internally displaced.



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