A chronological report on Manipur violence 2023 from May 3
- Part 1 -

Takhellambam Geetchandra Meitei *

On the 3rd May 2023 a Peace Solidarity Rally was organised by All Tribal Student Union Manipur (ATSUM) at the hill districts of Churachandpur, Tamenglong, Tengnoupal, Senapati, Kangpokpi, Chandel, Ukhrul of Manipur against the High Court directives to the State Government to send recommendation for listing of Meitei Community in Scheduled Tribe List under the Constitution of India. Large number of people joined the rally at Churachandpur District after some protestors burnt Forest Beat Office, Bungmual in Singhat Constituency.

The scene turned more ugly after the protestors started burning and destroying Meitei houses and properties at Torbung area, lying between Churachandpur and Bishnupur District. Police failed to control the mob. Later, the State Home Department suspended Mobile Data Internet Service for 5 days to control the situation. The district administrations imposed total public curfew under sub-section 2 of 144 CrPC 1973.

4th May 2023 : Union Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to Manipur Chief Minister and took stock of situation. 5 Companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) and 15 other general duty companies were airlifted to Imphal. About 15 Companies of the CRPF are already available in Manipur. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge blames BJP Government for violence in Manipur.

The State Chief Minister N. Biren Singh chaired a meeting with Ministers and MLAs at CM Secretariat Imphal and reviewed the law on order situation in the state. Mary Kom, the Olympic medal winning boxer and Rajya Sabha MP asks Prime Minister Modi “My state is burning, kindly help”. Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga speaks to Manipur CM N. Biren for restoration of peace in Manipur and to extend highest cooperation from Mizoram.

While several houses, shops, vehicles were burnt in both Meitei & Kuki Communities. Thousands are fleeing to take refuge in Relief Camps. Thanlon AC MLA Vungzagin Valte suffered injuries in mob at Imphal. 12 death bodies lain at RIMS mortuary.

The Government of India invoke Article 355 (Duty of the Union to protect States against external aggression and internal disturbance) of the Constitution of India and took over entire security related matters from state government with immediate effect. Kuldiep Singh a retired IPS Officer was appointed as Security Advisor of the state and under him ADGP (Intelligence) Ashutosh Sinha will work as overall operational commander.

5th May 2023 : The number of dead bodies deposited at RIMS, JNIMS and Churachandpur District Hospital reached 54, and number of injured persons undergoing treatment reached 109 at RIMS and JNIMS. Mizoram CM Zoramthanga said the steps to evacuate stranded Mizoram residents are taken, also open helpline. Northern Frontier Railway (NFR) has cancelled Trains to Manipur.

6th May 2023 : CM N Biren chaired an all political parties meeting at his Secretariat. Decisions were taken to appeal for peace, formation of peace committee by MLAs in their respective Constituencies and Government to extend all possible help to those affected. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Army helicopters have been pressed into services for aerial surveillance in ethnic violence of Manipur.

13000 people were rescued and shifted to safe shelter by Indian Army. An elderly man taking shelter in Churachandpur Relief Camp died, suspected to be heart attack. Unknown persons torched heavy machineries and robbed several items from a camp of GPT Infra Projects Limited at Khwanging Village, Churachandpur. Gunfight between State forces and unknown armed groups at Dolaithabi Area, while residents of Ikou, Dolaithabi, Leitanpokpi, Pukhao Villages fled to take refuge in different relief camps.

7th May 2023 : Vinnet Joshi a 1992 Manipur cadre IAS Officer has been appointed as the New Chief Secretary, replacing Dr Rajesh Kumar. The Chairman of Hill Area Committee (HAC) of Manipur Legislative Assembly Dinganglung Gangmei moved the Supreme Court challenging the Manipur High Court order on March 27 which asked the State Government to submit recommendation to give Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to Meetei/Meitei community. Two individuals of Khumbong, Imphal West have been reported missing at Patsoi Police Station.

8th May 2023 : Chief Minister N. Biren held (first Press briefing ever since May 3) at his Secretariat said 20,000 out of 35655 stranded people have been evacuated from violence hit places of Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Moreh, IE, IW, Thoubal. He announced Rs 5 lakh each to next to kin of the dead, Rs 2 lakh to the grievously injured and Rs 25,000 for non-grievous injuries.

Fifty Companies of Central Armed Police Force and 105 columns of Assam Rifles/Army along with 30,000 State forces deployed. 1041 arms and 7460 ammunition were snatched from MPTC and Police Stations/Outposts. The Supreme Court of India directed Central Government to file status report on Manipur Violence. Union Home Minister Amit Shah assured Manipur Government would consult all stakeholders before taking a decision on the matter of ST status for Meitei. Security Advisor Kuliep Singh told 65 persons dead at present.

9th May 2023 : Information and Public Relations Minister Dr Sapam Ranjan holds press conference at Imphal and said 4,000 people taking shelter in Relief Camps, 216 FIRs lodged in connection with violence. Governor Anusuiya Uikey hold talks with Eastern Command GOC-in-C Lt Gen RP Kalita, GOC 3 Corps and representatives of Coordinating Committee Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) at Raj Bhawan on present violence. Unknown miscreants set fire to houses at Gwaltabi Village, Imphal East and Torbung Bazar, Bishnupur.

10th May 2023 : Joint team of Assam Rifles and State Police started inspection of designated camps for Kuki Militants Groups under Suspension of Operation (SoO). One jawan of 18 AR sustained injuries during gunfight in Dolaithabi area, Imphal East, while a cadre of Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) a SoO signatory, has been arrested with the incident. 90 stranded people at D Khongkhai, T Selkang and Singjao Village of Churachandpur was handed over to MLA K. Ranjit by Kuki Chiefs. 11 persons who looted properties from abandoned houses amidst the violence have been arrested by state police.

11th May 2023 : Unknown armed miscreants reportedly abducted 3 civilians from Torbung Bangla, Bishnupur, while 8 others escaped. One personnel of Manipur Police Commando (CDO) was killed and five CDO personnel sustained injuries in gunfight with Kuki Militants at Tronglaobi Maning Leikai and Tera-khongsangbi Maning Leikai, Bishnupur. Several Imphal bound trucks loaded with essential commodities are stranded at Lairouching as the National Highway No. 2 was blocked at Motbung, Keithelmanbi, Sapermeina, Kangpokpi.

12th May 2023 : The joint statement of the 10 Kuki MLAs namely Letpao Haokip (Tengnoupal), Nemcha Kipgen (Kang-pokpi), Paolienlal Haokip (Saikot), Letzamang Haokip (Henglep), Ngur-sanglur Sanate (Tipaimukh), Kim-neo Haokip Hangshing (Saikul), LM Khaute (Churachandpur), Chinlun-thang (Singhat), Haokholet Kipgen (Saitu) & Vungzagin Valte (Thanlon) demand “Separate Administration” from Manipur. Security Advisor Kuldiep Singh claimed very few cadres of militant groups under SoO were found staying at the designated camps and some arms and ammunition kept in 2 designated camps were missing.

One personnel of 9 AR received injury in a bomb attack allegedly carried out by Kuki militants at Kulbung Village under Phoubakchao Ikhai Police Station, Bishnupur. Gunfight with State police force and Kuki Militants occurred at Chanung, IE District. A person was shot on his leg at Torbung Govindpur area, Bishnupur while herding cattle.

13th May 2023 : Manipur Chemists & Druggists Association (MCDA) has informed the shortage of live saving drugs in Manipur due to violence. Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) questioned the silence of State MLAs/Ministers in view of recent call for separate administration. All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO) opposed separate administration demand by 10 Kuki MLAs. A trooper of 9 AR was injured after Kuki militants fired in Saiton area. Security Advisor Kuldiep Singh informed close to 1700 houses burnt down in the violence.

14th May 2023 : Union Home Minister Amit Shah summons Chief Minister N Biren Singh along with some of his Cabinet colleagues and BJP Manipur President A Sarda Devi at New Delhi to discuss separate administration demand. Meitei houses at Torbung and Govindapur in Bishnupur District were set ablaze by unknown armed persons. The relief camp opened at Phoubakchao Ikhai Mamang Leikai was closed and inmates were shifted to safer places due to attack by Kuki militants.

15th May 2023 : Meitei Society Churachandpur informed 8 temples, 1310 houses of Meitei burned in Churachandpur. Stranded truck drivers feel insecure plying along the National Highway 37 as looting continued by armed miscreants. After meeting with Home Minister at Delhi, Chief Minister N Biren held press conference at his Secretariat conveyed Amit Shah assured to uphold State’s integrity.

Former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh pins hope on 10 MLAs rolling back stand of separate administration. Kuki MLAs meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah at New Delhi on separate administration demand. Unknown miscreants looted Manipur State Cooperative Bank (MSCB) Limited, Churachandpur District Branch. The 96 individuals who took shelter in an Assam Rifles Camp at Pheisenjang, Chandel District were evacuated and brought to Imphal by MI-17 helicopter of Indian Army.

To be continued...

* Takhellambam Geetchandra Meitei wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is a Research Scholar, Department of Social Work, Manipur International University
and can be contacted at geetmangang2(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on 01 September 2023 .

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