Several injured after students’ protest rally in Imphal turns ugly

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  • Several students were injured on Wednesday after security forces fired several rounds of tear gas shells to disperse a stone-pelting mob in Imphal’s Moirangkhom. 
  • The students were participating in a rally that started from Hau grounds of the state capital protesting the kidnapping and killing of two youths, who went missing in July. 
  • This comes a day after a clash between RAF personnel and locals left 45 protesters, mostly students, injured. 
  • Effective from Oct 1, 2023, the entire area of Manipur, excluding the 19 police stations, has been declared as a ‘Disturbed Area’ for a period of six months 

Several students were injured on Wednesday after security forces fired several rounds of tear gas shells to disperse a stone-pelting mob in Imphal’s Moirangkhom, about 200 meters from the CM’s secretariat.

The students were participating in a rally that started from Hau grounds of the state capital protesting the kidnapping and killing of two youths, who went missing in July and whose photographs went viral on social media recently.

The students, raising slogans of “we want justice”, were heading towards Chief Minister Biren N Singh‘s bungalow, officials said.

Lanthengba, a student leader leading the rally told reporters, “We demand that the killers of the two students be arrested within 24 hours and their bodies be recovered for their last rites. We also want to meet the chief minister to address our grievances. How can we continue with our studies when our friends and classmates are being murdered in cold blood.” Police tried to cool down tempers by announcing that “arrangements are being made to allow student representatives to meet both the chief minister and the governor.” However, the situation suddenly turned ugly and some students started pelting stones prompting the security forces including RAF personnel to fire several rounds of tear gas shells to disperse them, officials said.

Hill areas of Manipur were again placed under the stringent Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act while 19 police stations mainly comprising areas in the valley have been kept out of its purview. The police station areas where the Disturbed Areas Act has not been imposed are Imphal, Lamphel, City, Singjamei, Sekmai, Lamsang, Pastol, Wangoi, Porompat, Heingagng, Lamlai, Iribung, Leimakhong, Thoubal, Bishnupur, Nambol, Moirang, Kakchin and Jirbam.

The extension of the AFSPA in the hill areas was of least significance as more than 20 terror groups from the tribal areas had entered into an agreement on Suspension of Operations (SoO) with the Centre and the state government.

More than 180 people have been killed and several hundred injured since ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3, when a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organized in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status.

Meiteis account for about 53 percent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal valley, while tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 percent and reside mostly in the hill districts.

(With inputs from agencies)

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