Women block way of Assam Rifles personnel in Manipur on hunt for militants

Imphal, April 25 (PTI): Tension brewed on Friday at Kasom Khullen in Manipur''s Kamjong district along the India-Myanmar border when women in large numbers blocked the entry of Assam Rifles (AR) personnel into the village to thwart an attempt by them to conduct an operation in the area, officials said.


According to sources, the AR troopers had visited Bungdung area in Kasom Khullen following a tip-off about the presence of militants in the village.


Local media channels showed women in traditional attire standing near the barricades they had put, holding posters demanding that the troopers go back, while the AR personnel waited outside the village for the protest to end.


A purported video clip of the incident, shared on social media, showed a women protester saying the villagers did not want additional forces in the area when the COVID-19 pandemic was psychologically troubling people across the world.


"The situation is tense as of now...but we are not taking any action that can harm civilians," a security officer told PTI, adding that additional forces were deployed in the area after intelligence inputs suggested that NSCN (IM) was trying to establish a camp there.


Lockdown or not, it is our duty to prevent any illegal activity by militants, the officer said.


"We understand that people are worried over the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn''t mean we can stop our duty of enforcing law and order and preventing illegal activities," he said, adding that the troopers had visited the village only after verifying information about the presence of militants.


Despite repeated attempts, district officials could not be reached for comment.