Police Commando killed, several hurt in fresh Manipur violence

IANS Photo

Imphal, January 17 (IANS) One Manipur Police Commando was killed and three others injured on Wednesday when suspected armed militants attacked them in Manipur’s Moreh area, along the Myanmar border, police said.

Moreh is a very old and major trading town on the India-Myanmar border in Tengnoupal district. When the security personnel tried to shift the three injured security personnel to the hospital for medical treatment, some tribals including women tried to stop them.

They clashed with the forces and several tribal people were injured in the fight.

Earlier police and the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), an apex body of tribals in Manipur, separately claimed that a woman was killed in the clash.

Later in the evening police said that the woman was unconscious for some time as she had sustained serious injuries, but she is alive and undergoing medical treatment at a hospital.

However, ITLF spokesman Ginza Vualzong said that the woman died after a security force car hit her.

Police officers in Imphal said that a police Commando Wangkhem Somorjit was killed and three others injured when suspected militants attacked the security forces on a search operation in Moreh to nab the militants.

Somorjit hails from Malom area in Imphal’s West district.

Heavy exchange of fire between the security forces and the suspected militants was reported in three different locations in Moreh since Wednesday morning, police said.

The militants had also fired Rocket-Propelled Grenade shells on the security forces.

Tension runs high and additional security forces, including Assam Rifles have rushed to the bordering areas to bring the situation under control.

Fearing fresh violence, the district administration imposed a total curfew in the trouble-torn Tengnoupal district from Tuesday afternoon.

“Following inputs of the likelihood of breach of peace, disturbance of public tranquillity and grave danger to human lives and property within the revenue jurisdiction of Tengnoupal district, total curfew was imposed,” a notification said.

Meanwhile, a leader of the ruling BJP Hemkholal Mate (36) and a former soldier of the Army, Philip Khaikholal Khongsai (49) were arrested on Monday night from Moreh in connection with the killing of a Sub-Divisional police officer Chingtham Anand Kumar in October last year.

Upon the arrest of the duo, tribals in the border town on Tuesday demanded their release, while Imphal Valley witnessed widespread protests demanding handing over of the case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and exemplary punishment to the detainees.

Since December 30, at least 10 Manipur Police Commandos and a Border Security Force trooper have been injured in attacks by suspected Kuki militants at Moreh.

People from the Kuki, Meitei, Naga, Tamil, Pangal, Gorkha, Sikh and other communities have been residing for decades in peace and harmony in Moreh, which is just four km to the west of Myanmar’s largest border town Tamu and 110 km south of Imphal.