IMPHAL, June 9 (PTI): Three people were killed and two others were injured in a village in ethnic violence-hit Manipur’s Imphal West district on Friday when a group of insurgents dressed as security personnel called them out of their homes on the pretext of a combing operation and fired at them, officials said.
The incident took place in Khoken village on the border of Kangpoki and Imphal West districts.
The insurgents are believed to be from the Meitei community, the officials said.
Security forces on a routine patrol of the village stepped in when they heard the sound of gunfire.
Insurgents fled the area but not before shooting down three villagers, the officials said.
The bodies were recovered by Assam Rifles.
Later, a combined team of the Manipur Police, Assam Rifles and the Army conducted a search operation.
Clashes broke out in Manipur after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the 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 100 lives and some 10,000 army and para-military personnel had to be deployed to bring back normalcy in the northeastern state.