Manipur’s Ongoing Crisis: Disturbing Video and Grenade Attack Unmask Persistent Turmoil

ManipurMan’s Body is Burning

Manipur, October 9, 2023

In a shocking and gruesome incident that adds to the series of violence in Manipur, a disturbing video has come to light. This seven-second video, titled “Kuki,” depicts the horrifying sight of a tribal man’s body being set on fire in a trench. The Manipur police have stated that the video appears to be from early May, and they are actively investigating the case.

The Disturbing Video Emerges

The video, marked as “Kuki,” began circulating on various WhatsApp groups in Manipur on October 8, 2023. The disturbing footage shows a man, clad in a black T-shirt and camouflage trousers, lying lifeless in a trench. His face has been brutally damaged, and his body is engulfed in flames. The most distressing part is that it remains uncertain whether the man was burnt alive or not.

Manipur

Amid this horrifying revelation, a representative of a Kuki-Zo organization expressed their efforts to identify the victim. They mentioned that during the period of violence, there were reports of five or six people from the Kuki community who were allegedly burnt alive.

Internet Blackout in Manipur

It’s worth noting that mobile internet services have been inaccessible in Manipur since May 3, 2023. This blackout was a consequence of escalating ethnic violence between the tribal Kuki-Zo and the Meitei community, the majority ethnic group in the state. While mobile internet briefly saw a restoration on September 23, it was swiftly blocked again on September 25. This action followed the circulation of distressing images of two Meitei students who had gone missing in July and were later found deceased. The discovery of their bodies led to widespread protests in the valley areas of Manipur.

CBI’s Investigation and Unresolved Cases

In response to the tragic incident involving the two missing students, a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team arrested four individuals, including two women, in connection with the alleged crime. However, the bodies of the two students are yet to be recovered, leaving their families in anguish.

Additionally, a disturbing video from July 19, depicting an incident from May 4 in Thoubal, emerged on social media. The video revealed the horrifying sight of two women who were stripped and paraded by a violent mob. The police acted promptly, arresting nine individuals linked to this horrific act. Tragically, two male relatives of one of the women were killed by the mob, who were armed with sophisticated weapons, including AK-47 rifles.

Ongoing Violence and Security Concerns

The situation in Manipur remains grim, with sporadic violence persisting for the past five months. Security forces have been targeted in various incidents, underscoring the ongoing instability in the region.

On October 8, 2023, the Manipur Police reported that security forces came under fire from armed individuals. This incident occurred shortly after they thwarted an attack in the New Keithelmanbi area on the night of October 7. The security forces detected suspicious movements around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday and fired illumination rounds to identify the individuals. In response, they came under fire but effectively retaliated, causing the miscreants to flee. The authorities are still in pursuit of a large cache of weapons and ammunition that were looted from police armories during the earlier violence. It is estimated that around 4,000 weapons and a substantial quantity of ammunition were stolen.

Imposition of Restrictions

In light of the ongoing security concerns, the District Magistrate of Imphal East took an emergency measure on October 8, 2023. The public was prohibited from participating in processions, rallies, protests, unlawful gatherings, and public meetings that involved loudspeakers, effective immediately. However, some exceptions were made for government officials on official duties, customary and ritualistic processions related to weddings and funerals, and activities organized by various government departments.

High-Profile Grenade Attack

Adding to the atmosphere of insecurity, a high-profile incident occurred when a grenade was hurled at the house of Manipur’s minister, Yumnam Khemchand, in Imphal West. The attack took place late on a Saturday evening and resulted in injuries to two individuals. The grenade, thrown from a motorbike, struck an electricity pole near the main gate before exploding. A young woman from the extended family of the BJP politician, Purnilesha Yumnam (25), sustained an injury to her left foot, while Dinesh Chandra Das (57), a CRPF sentry from the F30 Battalion, suffered a splinter wound to his right hand.

Eyewitnesses reported that two unidentified individuals wearing full-face helmets carried out the attack, then swiftly fled the scene. Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, who quickly arrived at the site following the 10 pm blast, condemned the act as “cowardly” and “uncivilized.” He expressed the hope that the motive behind the attack would become clear upon the arrest of the culprits.

Public Outrage and Protests

The attack on the minister’s residence triggered outrage among the residents of the locality. In response, they organized a sit-in protest on Sunday to denounce the incident. Yambem Shantibala, one of the protesters, highlighted the potential for even more significant damage if the blast had occurred earlier, given that Singjamei Yumnam Leikai is a densely populated residential neighborhood.

It is noteworthy that Chief Minister Biren Singh had recently commented that the law and order situation in Manipur had shown signs of improvement, allowing his government to refocus on development efforts. However, incidents like the grenade attack serve as a stark reminder that challenges to peace and security persist in the state.

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