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Manipur: Tribal MLAs allege excesses by state forces at Moreh after SDPO’s killing

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IMPHAL, Nov 3: Ten tribal MLAs of Manipur have expressed concern over the
“unprofessional conduct and inhumane excesses” of the state forces against
civilians in Moreh town, following the killing of an SDPO earlier this week.
In a joint statement, the legislators belonging to the Kuki-Zomi-Hmar
community said while the loss of life of the sub-divisional police officer in the
line of duty is condoled, “we would like to highlight the continuing excesses
and atrocities perpetrated by the state forces against our people in Moreh and
other places in Tengnoupal district based on ground reports”.
The legislators also claimed that the state forces “resorted to arson,
indiscriminate firing, looting of civilian properties, vehicles, household items
and unprovoked brutality forcing common people to flee”.
Asked about the allegations of 10 legislators, officials told PTI that the
operations at Moreh were conducted in a manner so that there was no
violation of any civilian rights.
Operations were carried out jointly by the state and central forces, they said.
Moreh SDPO Chingtham Anand was shot dead by tribal militants on October 31
when he was inspecting the newly constructed helipad at Eastern ground in
the border town.
Following the incident, an operation was launched in the area to apprehend
the militants.
Echoing the demand of Kuki bodies, based in Moreh, for the removal of state
forces from the border town, the tribal MLAs also appealed to the central
government “to intervene into the matter at once and ensure withdrawal of all
the commandos deployed in Moreh and other Kuki-Zomi-Hmar tribal areas and
replace them with neutral central forces”.
Notably, a large mob of hundreds of people on Wednesday attacked a camp of
the 1 Manipur Rifles in Imphal to loot its armoury, prompting security
personnel to fire several rounds in the air.
Tension had been brewing in the state capital after the SDPO, belonging to the
majority community, was shot dead by tribal militants at Moreh town on
Tuesday morning.
Both the state and central forces have been deployed at the border town
Meanwhile, unidentified gunmen fired at least six rounds at the vehicle of
Meitei Leepun Chief Pramod Singh on Friday morning in Langol area in Imphal
West district, police said.
Singh, who slammed the Kuki militants several times for the ongoing unrest in
the state, was not injured in the firing at his vehicle, an officer said.
An investigation has been initiated to arrest the gunmen, he added.

The state has remained gripped by recurring bouts of violence since ethnic
clashes first erupted in May. More than 180 people have been killed since
then.
The clashes have occurred over a number of grievances that both sides have
against the other, however, the flashpoint of the crisis has been a move to give
Meiteis Scheduled Tribe status, which has since been rolled back.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly
in the Imphal Valley, while tribals, which include Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40
per cent and reside mainly in the hill districts. (PTI)

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