Clash sends Class XII topper to relief camp
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, June 03 2023: The ethnic clash in Manipur has compelled thousands of people to flee from their residential places and take shelter elsewhere a little safer and among those displaced is 10th position holder of the recently declared Class XII CoHSEM examination in Arts stream Yendrembam Meiraba.

Meiraba is currently taking shelter at a relief camp set up at Khangabok Higher Secondary School by Khangabok Relief Committee along with his father Indrajit, mother Anita, elder sister Inunganbi and younger brother Lanchenba.

Born on May 20, 2004 at Serou Makha Leikai in Kakching district, Meiraba, a student of Enlighten Knowledge (EK) Higher Secondary School located at Sangakpham, shared the 10th position along with one Wairokpam Bonika of UNACCO School, Chanura Bazar.

Talking to The Sangai Express, Meiraba said that he went out to Serou Bazar to buy household items on May 27 during the curfew relaxation period like any other normal day.

Clash sends Class XII topper to relief camp
Clash sends Class XII topper to relief camp

He said that he met some of his school mates who are Kukis at Serou Bazar and conversed about the violence in Manipur before returning home.

Saying that his relatives at Sugnu informed him about a large number of police force rushing at their locality at around 11 pm of the fateful day, Meiraba maintained that there however wasn't any indication of aggression to take place.

Further stating that Central security forces at Serou started sounding sirens at around 2 am, Meiraba claimed that a heavy gunfight ensued shortly after.

Many of the locals of Serou took shelter at my house and we thought that the gunfight would end at dawn, he added.

Claiming that he saw some armed persons donning lungis heading towards a Meetei village while peeking through the window, Meiraba alleged that these armed persons also fired towards his direction.

Saying that the locals started heading south the next morning (May 28), Meiraba maintained that he however stayed back for a brief period to secure his new newly bought two-wheelers.

"As the gunfight intensified I left behind the vehicle and joined the locals who were later taken safely to Serou Public Ground by the State police," he shared.

Meiraba said that many of them might have been killed by the armed Kuki militants had the State police not intervened.

"We headed towards the residence of Sugnu Constituency MLA K Ranjit at Serou Bazar as staying at the playground was risky," Meiraba narrated and continued that four among them were hit by bullets right in front of him during the journey.

"We saw billows of smoke erupting from Serou Makha Leikai which is my locality," Meiraba said and claimed that he witnessed several Meetei houses in flames from the top floor of the MLA's house.

Continuing that BSF started evacuating the children and women at around 10 pm using four bullet-proof vehicles, Meiraba said that the security force didn't return to rescue the remaining displaced folks.

"The remaining of us spent the whole night at the MLA's house waiting for rescue," he shared.

Claiming that they went to their locality the next day (May 29) and saw many of the houses completely burnt, he continued that the Kuki militants were still camping in the area when they returned.

"The Kuki militants fired at us so we fled towards the house of the MLA again," he added.

Conveying that three more vehicles of BSF were sent again to evacuate them, he added that the vehicles couldn't accommodate all of them 'so I escaped from the area by taking a ride on a Tata tipper heading towards Sugnu' .

"On reaching Sugnu, the locals gave us food and water," Meiraba said.

"At Sugnu I met my family members and we took a ride on another truck heading to Wabagai and spent the night at the relief camp set up there," he said and added that they were shifted to Khangabok the next day (May 30) .

To another query, Meiraba said that he wants to be a civil servant.

If I crack the UPSC examination then I would want to work in coordination with people of different communities so as to ensure peaceful coexistence.

About the situation in Manipur, Meiraba said that the clash is because of the opposition of a section of people to the War on Drugs and eviction drives of the Government.

It has little to do with the Scheduled Tribe (ST) demand of Meeteis and this is not an ethnic clash, he claimed.

He went on to claim that the restive situation in Manipur is triggered by Kuki militants who engage in an act of terrorism to fulfil their aspiration.

Meiraba appealed to the Government to implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Manipur at the earliest.

Saying that the unrest has affected the lives of students greatly, Meiraba appealed to the Government to take up special arrangements for the students.

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