Story of how Meiteis were driven out violently and systematically
Detailing ethnic cleansing at CCpur
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 03 2023: On May 3, Meitei people in Churachandpur district were unprepared and caught off-guard by marauding Kuki mobs who went on burning down one house after the other in as many as 18 villages.

In a matter of days, Churachandpur district was cleaned of all Meiteis, their houses burnt down and levelled to the ground systematically using heavy machinery.

By mid May, the Kukis had burnt down approximately 1,178 Meitei households spread across 18 villages.

1,150 of the houses had Lainingthou Sanamahi (Meitei shrines/Temples), all burnt to ashes.

The Kuki miscreants also burnt down 10 outdoor Temples.

Many horrific incidents happened in Kuki dominated Churachandpur district on May 3 .

Story of how Meiteis were driven out violently and systematically
Story of how Meiteis were driven out violently and systematically

A mother who was fleeing with her child from a mob was "pinned down" and "gang-raped" by 5-6 men until she lost consciousness.

This incident has been covered by The Sangai Express many times and as such, this story is not repeated in details here.

A woman collapsed and died when a Kuki mob attacked during evacuation.

Her lifeless body was kept in Churachandpur Mini-Secretariat for 2 days, and her family couldn't take the body with them when they were evacuated to a relief camp in Bishnupur.

"I am a Muslim" -- these words saved the life of a Meitei man while his friend was chased by a group of "Kuki militants" .

The friend is still missing and is believed to have been killed.

While bullets rained down on Meitei locals injuring four, a bride in a village waited for the groom who didn't arrive.

Meitei residents, who had watched a football match together with fellow Kuki residents at a village, were forced to run for their lives the next morning.

Some hid and spent two days without food and water.

A gun shop at Churachandpur was looted by Kuki mobs, which this paper has covered many times.

The looted arms and ammunition are believed to have been used against Meitei residents in the district.

The Sangai Express, a few days ago, published three stories of events that unfolded in some Meitei inhabited places in Churachandpur.

What has been presented here today are events that happened on May 3 and following days in the remaining villages in the district.

All events presented here are according to testimonies of victims/displaced people who have fled Churachandpur and are presently staying at relief camps across several districts in the valley.

These testimonies of the victims have been filed in a complaint with the Manipur Human Rights Commission (MHRC) .

On May 3 afternoon, protesters taking part in the "Solidarity March" of the All Tribal Students' Union Manipur (ATSUM) strayed kilometres into Bishnupur district and turned violent.

The protesters with the Kuki militants/armed men embedded among them started vandalising Meitei shops and houses and started burning them down at the border areas between Chura-chandpur and Bishnupur district.

The news of the violence reached minority Meiteis in 18 villages of Churachandpur district causing them to start fleeing in anticipation of being attacked.

Khuga Tampak Meitei Leikai

On May 3, a family was preparing for a wedding and the guests had started to arrive.

The bride was all dressed up and waiting for the groom.

However, the groom party from Terakhongsangbi didn't arrive but informed the bride's family about the violence that had rocked Torbung.

The wedding got cancelled.

The guests started panicking and later, the family along with others took shelter at a house before evacuation.

Khuga Tampak had around 350 Meitei households with a population of around 2,250 before May 3 .

The place is also known as Zou Veng by the surrounding tribal population.

It is surrounded by three major villages--New Zou Veng and Hmar Veng in the North, PCI Colony of Paite community in the South and Veishel Veng of Neishil community in the East.

There is also another village called Moltu, created in the recent past.

During COVID-19 pandemic, many Myanmar Nationals started settling in the village, said the testimony of a victim.

After the wedding got cancelled, at around 6.30 pm, locals heard a Meitei girl and some others were chased by a Kuki mob.

Alerted Meitei residents decided to stay together and took shelter at two houses.

At about 7.09 pm, the residents noticed a video clip and a text message uploaded by a Meitei girl from Torbung on her WhatsApp stating "Eyum Mei Thabi-re Taibang Mapu Eyum Leitre" (My house has been burned down, God we are homeless) .

Sometime later, the residents saw huge clouds of smoke rising from Khumujamba Meitei Leikai side, and also heard several rounds of gunshots.

The residents saw Kuki miscreants torching a Meitei shop near Hengzou near Khuga Tampak.

Some Meitei men came out and they tried to protect their properties from the attackers.

But 20-30 Kuki miscreants started pelting stones at them.

A group of Kuki miscreants from Moltu side first destroyed and burnt down a Meitei shop known as 'Kishan shop'.

Sometime later, armed Kuki men started firing indiscriminately, injuring four Meitei men Pishak, Monish, Ibungo and Ajay.

Sometime after midnight, Assam Rifles arrived and evacuated them to Mini Secretariat.

Enroute to the Mini Secretariat, a large mob attacked them while they were inside the vehicle with sticks and stones.

In the attack, Abujam Ibemhal collapsed and subsequently died.

Her lifeless body lay at the Mini Secretariat for two days, and her family could not take the body with them while they were evacuated to a relief camp at Bishnupur.

"Kuki men and women tried to attack Meiteis even at the Mini Secretariat several times" .

Days later, the Meiteis of Khuga Tampak along with other Meitei residents of Churachandpur were evacuated to the valley.

The four Meitei men who sustained bullet injuries were given medical treatment and required surgeries were done.

They filed a report with the police.

Khumujamba Leikai

There were about 205 Meitei households with a population of more than 1,892 people living in Khumujamba Leikai before May 3 .

The place is surrounded by the Hmar community in the East, Paite in the West and South.

After news of trouble at Torbung reached in the afternoon of May 3, many Meitei residents took shelter in two pucca houses with strong gates.

At around 5 pm, they saw mobs building up in the vicinity and people banging electric poles.

Minutes later, the Meiteis residents then saw thick smoke rising from burning Meitei houses.

A shop owned by a Meitei known as 'Raghumani shop' was first seen to be set on fire.

Panicking, a Meitei woman called up Memi, wife of local MLA LM Khaute for help.

Memi responded she would "do the needful" .

At midnight, Assam Rifles arrived and rescued them.

Next morning (May 5), when the Assam Rifles were about to evacuate Meitei residents, one lady police repeatedly shouted in Manipuri language saying "Moi-se Mapanda Inthokla-ga Nongmeina-hek Kappa-ga Hatokpa" (Just pushing them out and shooting them dead), according to the complaint filed with the MHRC.

Meitei Christian Leikai

There were around 21 Meitei households before May 3.Zou is the major community in and around the locality.

Sensing trouble brewing, some took shelter at a house and many rushed to the campus of Evangelical Free Church of India.

The miscreants didn't attack Christian Meitei Leikai on May 3 .

On May 4 at around 4.30 am, Assam Rifles rescued and evacuated them to Mini Secretariat.

On the way to the Mini Secretariat, they were "attacked" by Kuki mobs with stones and logs.

Some residents who were still hiding at Meitei Christian Leikai saw around 30 men who came from Neisheil village burning down Meitei houses at around 9 am.

Witnesses claim the mob was led by one Sawn, who is a well known person to most of the Meitei residents.

Missing case

Thoinu, a 50-year-old Meitei resident of Christian Meitei Leikai met a man from Khumujamba at a relief camp in Moirang who informed he was with her son Temba at IB camp before evacuation to Moirang.

The person and Temba came out of the IB camp to find some eatables.

But they were caught and beaten up by some "Kuki militants" .

The Kuki militants asked them to identify if they were Meiteis.

The man from Khumujamba Leikai was left free as he identified himself as a Meitei Pangal (Muslim).

He saw Temba being chased by the Kuki militants.

Temba's whereabouts remain unknown till today.

He is believed to have been killed.

His family has filed a report with the police.

Saikot Meitei Leikai

There were around 37 Meitei households with a population of over 105 .

On May 3, residents of Saikot both Kuki and Meitei men were watching a football match in the village playground.

At around 4 pm during the second half of the match, words of violence at Torbung reached the playground.

The Meitei residents did not pay much heed to the news and they continued to stay in their respective homes.

Afterwards, they heard Meitei houses at Khumujamba had been burnt.

Next day, Kuki miscreants from other places came to Saikot and started burning Meitei houses.

The Meitei residents ran for their lives.

Some Meitei families including a pregnant woman ran to the foothill nearby.

They spent 2 days without food and water.

They were later rescued by security forces and taken to the Mini Secretariat.

Mandov Leikai:

There were around 60 Meitei households at Mandov Leikai.

On May 3 at around 3.30 pm, a Bolero vehicle stopped on the main road and three occupants got down and burnt some unusable tyres from a nearby Meitei shop.

Police arrived and removed the tyres.

"At around 7 pm, about 10 people who spoke in Zou language came to the place and broke a shop owned by a Muslim for some cigarettes.

They also broke a shop and took out some alcohol bottles and consumed it" .

After consuming alcohol, they shouted "let's start burning" .

On seeing their motive, the Meitei residents alerted others.

The Meitei families immediately ran and hid inside a Masjid.

The miscreants first burnt a Bamon Mandap.

The fire spread to the nearby Meitei houses.

Meitei residents then rushed to Churachandpur police station compound in order to save their lives.

All residences were looted and burnt later.

Ngathal: There were about 21 Meitei households.

On May 3, at around 6.30 pm, some residents who were returning home from work saw Patang, a Paite man openly instigating others to destroy properties belonging to Meiteis.

The miscreants first burnt six Meitei houses located near the local approach road and took a tractor vehicle belonging to a Meitei man from the local Church compound and burned it.

Meiteis in villages of Leimaram Meitei Leikai (Phailian), Thengra Leirak, Bijang Khunou, D Phailien and Old Bazar were attacked at around 5.50 pm of May 3 .

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