IMPHAL, May 10 (PTI): Firing by unknown militants in Manipur’s Imphal East district left one Assam Rifles personnel injured on Wednesday, while life in the violence-hit northeastern state continued to limp back to normal elsewhere with curfew being relaxed in 11 districts.
People sheltered in temporary camps also started returning home, a defence official said.
At least 60 people were killed and over 30,000 rendered homeless in rioting which engulfed the northeastern state late last week. Of those who had to leave their homes, 26,000 have been evacuated outside their districts while 4,000 remained in relief camps close to their homes, information and public relations minister Sapam Ranjan Singh said.
Soldiers on area domination were fired on by unknown people at 11 am at Dolaithabi area of Imphal East district, Spear Corps of the Army said.
“After firing a few rounds, miscreants ran away. One Assam Rifles personnel sustained gunshot wounds. He is currently under treatment,” it said in a tweet.
A total of 128 columns of the Indian Army and Assam Rifles continued flag marches in the affected areas and undertook round-the-clock aerial surveillance using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
“The Indian Army along with Assam Rifles have significantly re-engineered the security architecture and numerous resources have been infused in Manipur, especially in the backdrop of the prevailing security situation,” a statement issued by the Defence PRO said.
Stranded people are now returning homes and getting reunited with their loved ones, it said.
Curfew was relaxed in 11 districts including Imphal West, Bishnupur, Churachandpur and Jiribam for six hours from 5 am, officials said.
The Army is undertaking surveillance of areas not only in the hinterland but also along the India-Myanmar Border.
“Round-the-clock surveillance through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles with specific tasking, employment of MI-17 and Cheetah helicopters of Indian Air Force and Army and numerous foot patrols and flag marches to restore the confidence of locals on ground are being resorted to,” the defence statement said.
Meanwhile, Assam Rifles said the force has evacuated 1,229 people of Nagaland, who have been stranded in Manipur which has been shaken by violence since last week.
These people include 47 Konyak tribe women from Yairipok in Thoubal district. They are workers at a veneer factory there.
Inspector General of Assam Rifles (North) Maj Gen Vikas Lakhera said in Kohima that most of the stranded people of Nagaland have been rescued.
He said that though no more calls were received on the helpline numbers, the lines are still open for those requiring help.
Violent clashes broke out in the northeastern state after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the 10 hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
The clashes were preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals – Nagas and Kukis – constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.
The army also urged people not to fall for “malicious attempts to disturb harmony through manipulated interpretation or misrepresentation of facts” as “inimical elements may once again attempt to spread malicious unverified content”.
Chief minister N Biren Singh had on Monday said that 60 people were killed, 231 injured and 1,700 houses including religious places burnt in the ethnic violence that rocked the northeastern state for the past few days.