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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

3 RAF personnel suspended for involvement in alleged arson attempt

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IMPHAL, May 28 (PTI): Three personnel from the central Rapid Action Force deployed in violence-hit Manipur were arrested by the state police on Saturday for their alleged involvement in an attempt to set fire to a local shop in New Checkon area in Imphal, officials said.

A Home Ministry statement said Somdev Arya, Kuldeep Singh and Pradeep Kumar of the RAF have been suspended with immediate effect and an enquiry into their conduct will be instituted.

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The three central policemen had come to the area on Friday night in civilian clothes in a car and allegedly tried to set on fire a meat shop owned by a Naga tribal businessman, police said.

They fled from the place after local inhabitants protested. A CCTV footage with the police captured the fracas and led the police to the culprits.

They were later arrested by Porompat Police Station on Saturday night.

The suspension order came  ahead of a visit to the troubled northeastern state by union home minister Amit Shah.

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Clashes broke out in Manipur after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the majority Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The violence was 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 ethnic clashes claimed over 70 lives and left scores of people injured.

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