Showing posts with label Manipur. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Manipur. Show all posts
19 August 2015

Manipur ILP Clash: Curfew in Moreh

Imphal, Aug 19
: Indefinite curfew has been imposed in Manipur's border town Moreh in Chandel district after miscreants burnt shops and hotels and looted properties during a clash between two groups on Tuesday.

The incident occurred when a rally organized by a group in support of Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in Manipur was opposed by Kuki tribals who are a majority here. The Kuki tribals tried to stop the rallying people and pelted stones at them. This snowballed into a clash.

The rally was organized under the banner of Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) near the Indo-Myanmar border.

Later, a mob set ablaze some shops and roadside hotels, police sources said. Six people were injured, but there was no report of any casualty, a police official said.

Security forces rushed to the spot to take control of the situation, he added. Additional police forces, led by Inspector General of Police (IGP), have been sent to Moreh from Imphal. Kuki tribals, who opposed the rally, started vandalizing shops, hotels and other business establishments, sources in the police said and added that they had torched an office building, a hotel and two computer shops.

Over 50 shops were looted, an policeman said. The situation was brought under control with more police teams reaching the town, he added. Deputy chief minister (Home) Gaikhangam said that the situation was brought under control. The government has sought help from Assam Rifles which has been deployed in Moreh.

A team of ministers would visit the town on Wednesday, he added. Three civil society organizations — United Committee, Manipur (UCM), All Manipur United Clubs' Organization (AMUCO) and Kuki Inpi, Manipur (KIM) — appealed to all communities for peaceful co-existence.
17 August 2015

Ibobi Calls All-Party Meet On Draft ILP Bill

Crisis over demand for ILP deepens in Manipur
By Khelen Thokchom

Activists demand inner-line permit in Imphal on Sunday.

Imphal, Aug 17 :
Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh has convened an all-party meet tomorrow to finalise a draft bill prepared by his government for protection of indigenous people of the state.

Ibobi Singh convened the meet after the ongoing crisis over the public demand for inner-line permit (ILP) or a similar legislation deepened with more ILP supporters joining the indefinite hunger strike today.

Life continues to be severely affected because of ILP agitation for more than a month.

Police arrested five students, including a girl, who were on indefinite hunger strike since Friday in support of ILP at Ananda Singh Higher Secondary Academy in Imphal East, late last night.

The students are undergoing treatment at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences here.

Principal magistrate of Imphal East A. Noutuneshori today remanded the five students in two juvenile homes in Imphal till August 29. They will be taken to the juvenile homes after their condition improves, an official source said.

"The chief minister has convened an all party meet tomorrow at 2pm to discuss means to end the deadlock and discuss the draft bill," an official source said.

The state government has drafted a bill and Ibobi Singh would discuss with the political delegations the demand for inclusion of five points raised by the Joint Committee on ILP, a public conglomerate that has been spearheading the agitation.

The five points are permit for outsiders, identification of outsiders with 1951 as the cut-off year, deportation of the identified outsiders, no land ownership right to non-locals and strengthening of the labour department.

Today, five more students, including two girls, began an indefinite hunger strike at the gate of Ananda Singh Higher Secondary Academy.

Six other persons, including students, also began their hunger strike near the home of Sapam Robinhood, who was killed in a police crackdown on ILP supporters on July 8 in Imphal East.
Robinhood, who hailed from Lairikyengbam Leikai in Imphal East, was a class XI student of Ananda Singh Higher Secondary Academy.

Robinhood's father Sapam Romesh was admitted to Shija Hospitals yesterday after he fell ill. His condition is stated to be stable.

Two other ILP activists are also on an indefinite hunger strike at Thangmeiband in Imphal city since yesterday.

Protesters turned out on the streets today to block the roads in support of ILP after the news of the arrest of five students spread.

The police said the agitation was more intense at Khurai, Robinhood's neighbourhood. The police last night fired tear gas shells at various places to disperse torch rallies heading for Imphal city.

Several protesters were injured. Ibobi Singh is also expected to review the situation arising out of the signing of a peace accord between NSCN (Isak-Muivah) and the Centre on August 3, during tomorrow's all party meet.
14 August 2015

No Breakthrough in Talks Between JCLIPS and Manipur

Okram Ibobi Singh Okram Ibobi Singh No breakthrough was reached between the Manipur government and the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS), a committee leader has said.

Manipur government could not provide copy of the drafted bill submitted to the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh by the Bill Drafting committee on August 4 last to 20 representatives of JCILPS, Kh. Ratan, Convenor of the JCILPS, told mediapersons last night after coming out from the talks table. This showed the drafted bill was yet to be finalised and there was trust deficiency on the government's part for the talks, the Convenor alleged.

A government spokesman, however, maintained they were hopeful of resolving the issue by continuing dialogues with the committee. However, Ratan further said JCILPS insisted to include five points already submitted to the government while drafting the bill but the state side could not give any update about the inclusion of the points in the bill. The JCILPS convenor called for passing the Bill on implementation inner line permit system on or before August 15 next "to save the indigenous people of the state", Kh Ratan added.

Regarding the claimant of the body of Sapam Robinhood who died in alleged police action on July 8 last during JCILPS movement, the convenor said representatives of the state government could not say anything about the matter. He demanded the issue of claiming the body should be decided by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) formed after the killing of Sapam Robinhood and parents of the deceased with the JCILPS.
13 August 2015

Why the Naga peace accord is keeping Manipur on its Toes


Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh with leaders of the NSCN(IM) in New Delhi (PTI photo)
Despite repeated assurances from the Union government that the territorial integrity of Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam will be maintained and the peace accord recently signed between the Centre and the NSCN (IM) will not affect these states, tension has been palpable in Manipur since August 3.

Both Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister of the state G Gaikhangam (himself a Naga) have maintained that they had been kept in the dark and had not been consulted before the signing.

Any other month in any other year, the secrecy of the peace accord would have been enough to spark violent protests among the non-Nagas in the state – the dominant Meitei community who inhabit the four districts that constitute the Imphal valley, and Manipur’s third largest community the Kuki tribe.

But despite headlines in Manipur’s local dailies and Manipuri sentiment being dominated by the present Inner Line Permit agitation and demand, underneath lies a slowly simmering anger about the peace accord.

In 2001, the Centre had to quickly clarify the terms and conditions of the ceasefire signed with the NSCN (IM) as Imphal valley erupted in violent communal riots in protest against the ceasefire. The ceasefire was to be valid for all Naga area without territorial limits. Manipur reacted to it as an implicit threat on its territorial integrity – an acceptance on the part of the Indian Government that all Naga areas were considered one.

The Chief Minister’s residence was attacked as was the Secretariat, government buildings were set afire and mobs ran amok. To this day the violence of the June 18, 2001 protests are marked as yearly anniversaries across the Imphal valley.

There are four Naga districts in Manipur – Senapati, Ukhrul (where NSCN (IM) General Secretary Th Muivah hails from), Tamenglong and Chandel which cover vast expanses of Manipur’s land. The fear in 2001, as is today, is that the land will be handed over to Nagaland reducing Manipur to a shadow of a state.

Even as Manipur waits and watches, Naga families who have been living in Imphal for decades have already begun considering moving out of the valley and relocating to their original districts and making contingency plans and “escape routes” in case communal riots break out in the near future.

The Kuki Inpi – Manipur umbrella Kuki body – has meanwhile issued an open memorandum to the Prime Minister demanding that the peace accord be explained.

The Kuki Inpi has said that the “criminal actions” of the NSCN (IM) needed to be addressed before the signing of the accord – a reference to the Naga-Kuki riots which had taken place in the early 90s in which 906 kukis were killed and 3,000 Kuki villages and 100,000 Kukis displaced by the Nagas.
07 August 2015

Manipur goes without newspapers

title=Imphal, Aug 7 : Newspapers were not published in Manipur on Thursday in view of a 48-hour shutdown called in support of an inner line permit (ILP) system for the state.

The ILP is a special pass or permit required to enter the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.
It originated during the British rule and is now essentially used as a mechanism to safeguard tribal people and culture from outsiders.
"The media fraternity in Manipur regrets to announce non-publication of daily news and electronic media on August 6 due to the intense nature of the bandh," said a statement by the Editors Guild of Manipur and the All Manipur Working Journalists Union (AMWJU).
The protest was called by the student wing of the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System.
"The decision was arrived at after a meeting of editors and members of the AMWJU," it said.
It said journalists and non-journalists could not reach the press. Similarly, reporters and cameramen could not gather news.
The 48-hour shutdown began at 6 p.m. Tuesday after police cracked down on students demanding an ILP system the previous day.
The demand for an ILP to check the unregulated entry of non-Manipuris into the state -- mostly in the Meitei-dominated Imphal valley -- has been simmering since the 2011 census came out.
According to figures, of the over 2.7 million population in Manipur, one million have their roots outside the state.
06 August 2015

General Strike Affects Life in Manipur, Clashes, Violence Reported

Imphal, Aug 6 : A 48-hour general strike imposed by Joint Committee of Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS ) students wing affected life in the state for the second day today.

Reports of clashes between strike supporters and police are pouring in from all parts of the state.

All main roads and by-lanes were barricaded to stop movement of vehicles.

The state has been witnessing turmoil since July 7 following demand to pass a Bill to check influx of immigrants by introducing Inner Line permit system which is prevalent in other neighbouring states.

Due to massive influx of immigrants from neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and other parts of the country, the population of tribals has been exceeded by outsiders.

It was feared that within the next few years, the indigenous population will become a minority like it happened in Tripura and Sikkim.

As protesters came out in large numbers stopping movement of vehicles and people, police resorted to heavy firing to disperse them.

In spite of the firing by police, protestors continued to come out in hundreds shouting slogans.

The police used water cannons, tear gas shells, rubber bullets to control the stir. Sounds of firing were being heard since last evening.

All streets looked like a war zone. Educational institutes remained closed since the first week of July due to the crisis. Human chains were also formed shouting slogans for punishment of killing a student Sapam Robinhood in police firing.

They also shouted slogans demanding punishment to police men for allegedly beating up girl students.

Police officers were allegedly involved in brutally beating up girl students who took part in the stir.

Meanwhile, the state government has prepared a Bill to be introduced in the state Assembly. It was likely to be discussed by the state Cabinet soon.
04 August 2015

Manipur Floods: Waters Receding But Life Hit

New Delhi, Aug 4
: Even as the central government rushed in the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), thousands of people in Manipur`s Thoubal and Chandels districts are trying to come to grips with life in relief camps after their houses were submerged by flood waters.

Water-filled paddy fields have been covered by sand and community and residential ponds have been rendered unusable.

"One person was killed while he was trying to protect his home at Serou village from the surging waters of the Sekmai river on Saturday evening," Robert Leisangthem, a resident of Kakching in Thoubal, told IANS on phone.

This takes the toll to 21 after 20 people were killed in a landslide at Joumul village in neighbouring Chandel district on Saturday.

"The water level of the Sekmai river is coming down but the impact of the floods is still being felt. Paddy fields are covered with sand and filth and community and residential ponds are filled with dirt," Leisangthem said.

It is the agricultural season and the over 600-sq km area, known as the rice bowl of Manipur and inhabited by over 500,000 people, has been hit badly.

According to reports, the entire Thoubal and many parts of Chandel district have been hit by the worst floods in the last 200 years.

The Asian Highway No 1 connecting Imphal with Moreh on the Myanmar border has been cut off.

The Chakpi river, known for its uncertain flow of water, has flooded the entire Serou region in the southern part of Thoubal district. Water is flowing near the danger mark of the the newly constructed Serou bridge.

"Though the water level is coming down, people whose homes were submerged by the flood waters are living in relief camps," Leisangthem said.

"The director of Manipur`s health services was seen distributing medicines. Doctors have been appointed in relief camps. Local people are distributing rice and other essentials among people affected by the floods."

The Sengvai and the Chakpi rivers have also been creating havoc.

"Waters are ceding. The bridge over Sengvai river, though not destroyed, has developed cracks on the side," Hechin Haokip, a resident of Pallel in Thoubal district bordering Chandel, told IANS.

"Another bridge over the Chakpi river collapsed on Friday," she said.

According to Haokip, as of Sunday evening, rescue teams were struggling to reach Joumul village in Chandel district as two more landslides occurred on the way to the disaster-hit area.

"Since communications have been disrupted, I am not very sure if the rescue teams have been able to reach the area," Haokip said.
03 August 2015

NDRF Leads Rescue Operations in Manipur

Assam Rifles finds three survivors in landslide-hit Chandel district

Imphal, Aug 3
: A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rushed to Chandel district of Manipur where many people were buried alive following landslides triggered by heavy rain in the past three days.

Officials yesterday said landslides swept away all the 21 houses of Joumoul village - more than 200km south of Imphal under Khengjoy subdivision of Chandel which shares border with Myanmar - and 20 villagers were buried alive. Joumoul is under Khengjoy block.

The NDRF and the Assam Rifles recovered four bodies today.

The Assam Rifles today rescued three survivors, including Robert Hamlet Baite, 47, head of Joumoul village, Assam Rifles sources said.

Paite said the village has only 10 houses. Eighteen villagers were at home when the landslides struck. The total population of the village, according to him, is 74. The remaining villagers were in other places when the incident took place.

As of now, six survived the landslides. Three survivors reached safer places yesterday. Eight persons were still missing, the Assam Rifles said.

The Manipur government has announced Rs 5 lakh ex gratia for those killed in the landslides and floods. Government sources, however, could not give the exact number of deaths in the landslides till this evening.

President Pranab Mukherjee condoled the loss of lives in the landslides in Manipur.

In his message to Manipur governor Syed Ahmed, the President said: "I am sad to learn about the landslides triggered by heavy rain in Chandel district of Manipur which has resulted in the loss of a number of lives and injuries as well as damages to property. I understand some people are missing and thousands have been left homeless. Rescue as well as relief operations are currently under way."
He called upon the state government and other authorities to provide all possible aid to the bereaved families who have lost their members as well as medical assistance to the injured and shelter to the homeless.

Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju is expected to arrive here tomorrow to take stock of the flood situation.

A 20-member NDRF team landed in Imphal last night and they were airlifted to Joumoul to lead the rescue and relief operations there and other flood-affected areas of the Chandel.

"The NDRF is assisting the district administration in rescue and relief operations in Chandel district. They are also trying to recover the bodies. The exact number of casualties is yet to be ascertained," an official source said here.

The operation to retrieve the bodies continued till late afternoon. Another team of the NDRF are expected to arrive tonight or early morning tomorrow. Two air force choppers are pressed into service in relief and rescue operations.

Khengjoy block development officer Mary Memi said rescue operations were hampered by landslides at many places in Chandel district.

The president of the Kuki Students' Organisation in Tengnoupal, Daniel Mate, said because of incessant rain, landslides took place at many places in and around Tengnoupal villages in Chandel district. These places have been cut off from rest of the state.

The state government also deployed state disaster response teams to the flood-affected areas.
The floods caused landslides in many places and inundated houses in Chandel, Tamenglong and Ukhrul districts in the hills and also in the four valley districts. Five bridges were swept away by swelling river water in Chandel district alone.

Road communication between Imphal and the some of the hill districts has been snapped because of landslides. About 300 loaded Imphal-bound trucks were stranded along the Imphal-Jiribam stretch (National Highway 2).

Government sources said the exact number of people left homeless by floods is yet to be ascertained. They added that relief camps were opened for the displaced people.

The floods also submerged vast tracts of standing crops in the four valley districts of Manipur and other low-lying areas in the hills.

According to official sources, floods and landslides blocking roads are regular features during monsoon in Manipur, but the scale of landslides is massive this time.

Experts said landslides were extensive this year because of hill deforestation.
20 July 2015

In Supreme Court Intervention, Hope for Families of Manipur Encounter Victims

In Supreme Court Intervention, Hope for Families of Manipur Encounter Victims

Imphal, Jul 20 : 
In a nearly 7-year-long wait for justice, the past one week has given the maximum hope to the mother of Sanjit Meitei, an unarmed man shot dead by security forces in a busy market in Imphal on July 23 in 2009.

The incident is one of Manipur's most infamous alleged fake encounters that led to over six months of violence and protests on the streets of Imphal. Last Monday, the Supreme Court asked the Centre, Manipur government and the National Human Rights Commission to prepare a comprehensive report on 62 alleged fake encounter cases in the state.

The petition was filed by the Extra Judicial Execution Victims' Families Association, seeking enquiry into 1,528 cases of alleged fake encounters.

Sanjit's mother, Inatombi said, "As of now no action has been taken in my case. I want the people responsible for my son's killing to be punished."

Renu Takhellambam's husband was shot dead right next to her house on the outskirts of Imphal in 2007. A magisterial enquiry was conducted in the case, the result has never made public. Ms Renu said, "We don't want any further delay as justice delayed is justice denied."

Activists say the Court's intervention has come as a boost for these families.

A member of the group Human Rights Alert, Babloo Loitongbam said, "Supreme Court intervention is helping in a big way. In 2009, we documented no less than 500 cases of fake encounters where security forces just picked up people off the streets and killed them saying they were terrorists. In 2013, we documented just 3."

Despite the allegations of fake encounters, government officials and security forces have maintained that most of them were legitimate, and that the government's version will be given to the Supreme Court.

As for the families of alleged fake encounter victims, justice may be a lengthy process, but they say they are willing to go through it for the sake of closure.
22 June 2015

Villages Near Manipur Ambush Site Still Deserted as Residents Put Off Return

Villages Near Manipur Ambush Site Still Deserted as Residents Put Off Return
Indian Army personnel patrol the area close to the site of the recent ambush attack by militants that killed 18 soldiers.

Chandel, Manipur:  Life is yet to return to normalcy for the villages in Chandel, where 18 Indian soldiers were killed in a deadly ambush two weeks ago. At least three villages located a few kilometres near the ambush site are still deserted; villagers fear for their lives and are reluctant to return home.

Paraolon village is home to more than 400 people, but their huts remain empty even after two weeks. Insurgents of the NSCN (K) group had ambushed a party of Indian soldiers about 3 kilometres away from this village.

Since then the army has cleared most signs of the ambush from the spot. The debris of two burnt army trucks has been placed at this village. Army claims to have eliminated insurgents on the Indo-Myanmar border after the ambush.
But for most people who live in villages in this area, life may not be the same anytime soon. Most are still living with their relatives in Chandel town, and very few have chosen to stay on as they are subjected to rigorous scrutiny by the Indian Army and the Assam Rifles.

The Multuk village, is one of those where some villagers chose to stay back. It is also home to a camp of the army's 6 Dogra Regiment, the same that was targeted in the Manipur ambush. For most villagers, getting back their normal lives seems distant.

Marginal farmers like Mr Konkhotong say, "It's difficult to survive. We need to eat. If we can't work how will we eat? Even the politicians have not come here post the incident. We should be given something to eat. We are not permitted to go anywhere".

The Indian Army maintains it does not want to trouble civilians living in the area during its operations, but for now, the ground realities are somewhat different. The locals here seem to have become unwitting pawns in the conflict.
19 June 2015

Manipur Teacher Thrashed For Allegedly Caning Student, Hospitalised

Manipur Teacher Thrashed For Allegedly Caning Student, Hospitalised
A teacher of a private school in Imphal was beaten up after he allegedly caned a student

Imphal, Jun 19 :  A teacher of a private school in Manipur's Imphal was brutally thrashed and had to be hospitalised after he allegedly caned a student as punishment. 16 members of a prominent students' body have been detained by the police in connection with the incident.

On Tuesday, the computer science teacher at the St. Joseph's School allegedly beat up a Class 6 student with a cane in front of the entire classroom. The student allegedly complained to the Democratic Students' Alliance of Manipur - a body that claims to represent the interests of school students across the state - about the incident following which the teacher was summoned to its office later that day and was allegedly assaulted by its members.

The beating was so severe that the teacher had to be taken to a hospital. He has suffered bruises all over his body. Doctors say he is recovering but it will be a few days before he is discharged.

The students' group claims that it got into a minor altercation with the teacher after he refused to apologise for beating the child. The teacher claims his punishment was mild, adding that he did not intend to hurt the child.

Manipur Observes 'Unity Day'

in their honour People pay tribute to heroes who sacrificed their lives for territorial integrity of Manipur in the great June Uprising on its 14th anniversary on Thursday at Imphal. Deepak oinamBy Ratnadip Choudhury

Imphal, Jun 19 :
The people of Imphal valley on Thursday remembered the 18 civilians who were killed by security forces in 2001 and all roads led to Imphal’s Kekrupat area where their remains were cremated.

On June 18, 2001, when Manipur was under President’s Rule, thousands of people protested against New Delhi’s decision to extend the ceasefire with NSCN(IM) beyond Nagaland.  Government buildings were attacked and the Assembly was burnt down by protesters. They also rushed to the gate of the Raj Bhavan and scaled the chief minister’s bungalow gates,  forcing security personnel to open fire.

Ever since, the day is observed as “Unity Day” by the people of Imphal valley. Hundreds of people paid their respect by laying floral wreaths at the site. The people of Imphal valley reiterated that in no way would they compromise with the “territorial integrity” of Manipur.

New Delhi has hinted at a possible ‘peace deal’ with the NSCN(IM) by the end of this year, the Naga militant group which is in talks with the Centre since 1997. New Delhi had extended the ceasefire with the NSCN(IM) rebels in Naga inhabited areas covering Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.  The move is seen as giving an indirect legitimacy to the NSCN (IM)’s demand for a “greater Nagaland”.
17 June 2015

A Road Not Taken in Manipur

By Ratnadip Choudhury
Army removes the ill-fated truck that was ambushed on June 4 on the Somtal road near Paraolon village of Chandel District of Manipur. PHOTO: DEEPAK OINAMParaolon (Manipur), Jun 17 : Speeding along the Asian Highway 1 (AH1) from Manipur capital Imphal en route to the border town of Moreh, there is a sense of peace. It kindles a hope that New Delhi’s ambitious plan to connect North-East India to Southeast Asia through Manipur is really taking flight.

However, a right turn from Chamol towards Tengnoupal, and embarking on the Somtal Road — which leads to Somtal, the last Indian village — reality strikes. It is on this serpentine and bumpy road that militants ambushed the Indian Army convoy on June 4 leaving 18 troopers dead.

Since then, this road has been less travelled by civilians. The only vehicles plying are those of the Indian Army and other security forces.

The first Army check post is at Tengnoupal, and as one goes along the hilly road, movement becomes more challenging.

Twenty-two km from Tengnoupal is Larong village, where the Assam Rifles has a check post.

No one, barring Army and security force vehicles, can pass through this check post without taking permission.

“From here, the area becomes dense, sparsely populated and all vehicular movement needs to be checked,” said a Major in the Indian Army.

Another 20-km drive from Larong would take you to Paraolon, the village which has been deserted since the attack. Paraolon is just 2 km from the ambush spot.

At least 10 villagers were witness to the gun-battle that lasted nearly two hours.

Now the site is almost nondescript. There is no Army presence and when Deccan Herald reached the sharp bend where the ambush took place, the charred Indian Army truck was finally craned out.

The broken glass pieces and burnt fuel marks and rocket-propelled grenade shells still hold testimony to how the Army was caught unawares.

“We have heard gunshots, but it’s been years since the area witnessed any bloodshed. There was a time when no one dared to take the Somtal road; the militants had an open run there. For years, we have not received any government assistance,” said Hinjam, a 65-year-old farmer from Dorchang village, 4 km ahead of Paralaon.

Asked about the Look East policy, Hinjam said: “After the ambush, none of the males are being allowed by the Army into the jungles for cultivation or hunting. Only women are allowed to venture out. The government is only interested about the border town of Moreh, not other remote areas. If the government is not present here, then the militants will arrive — that has been the order of the day.”

The United National Liberation Front had, a decade ago, established the “liberated zone” from Moltuh to Somtal, and were frequenting that stretch of Indo-Myanmar border.

The Indian Army had reclaimed the area in 2007 when Operation Somtal was launched.
As we proceeded from the ambush site towards Somtal, some 30 km from Paraolon, the vehicle was stopped and barred from going forward at another Indian Army post.

“The road ahead has dangers. We cannot allow further movement,” said a jawan.
16 June 2015

In Manipur militancy hub, Myanmar provides what ‘distant’ India doesn’t

By Esha Roy
manipur militants ambush, indian army militants attack, army myanmar militants attack, Myanmar manipur india border, manipur militants ambush, myanmar militants, manipur naga, Ukhrul district, Chassad manipur, manipur Chassad, manipur militants ambush, india news, nation news Kamjong village on the border; the Myanmarese provide teak, the villagers give them ‘whatever they want’. (Source: Express photo by Deepak Shijagurumayam)

Very little has changed in this corner of Ukhrul district in Manipur. Bordering Myanmar, the group of volatile villages in the district’s Chassad subdivision has for decades been a hub of militant activity. With no fence defining the border, the villages of Chassad, Kamjong, Grihang, Ningchao, Nampisha, Phaikoh, Chrokhurnao and Aishi serve as a thoroughfare for militants as well as villagers.

The link between Ukhrul’s villagers and their Myanmarese counterparts is centuries old. Villagers on both sides engage in a flourishing barter trade. “The trade for us is now mainly of wood — prized Burmese teak. In exchange we give them whatever they need — blankets, sewing machines, bicycles,’’ says Chihanphang Keishing of the Tangkhul Naga village of Kamjong.
Kamjong has historically been a stage for war. During the Second World War, in their attempt to capture India, the Japanese had made Kamjong their Indian headquarters. Chihanphang Keishing’s father, Ringshi Keishing, was a leader in Netaji Bose’s Indian National Army. “My father went to Burma and brought the Japanese. He was their guide to Manipur. He escorted them to Kohima,’’ says Keishing, adding the roads today are only marginally better since that war.

It’s easier to go to Myanmar than to some parts of Manipur. Until recently, the villagers would procure even salt or clothes from the other side of the border. The villages are packed between steep hills and thick forests. An elephant will occasionally stray in from Myanmar and be hunted down by villagers for meat. The treacherous terrain makes the area ideal for insurgent camps, many of these a stone’s throw away on the Myanmar side.

But while this area is predominantly Naga, it’s the Meitei valley’s underground groups that hold sway here, primarily UNLF, while MNRF, the Manipur Naga Revolutionary Front, is the other outfit with a significant presence, thanks to its thriving extortion rackets.

Last year, an ambush at the village of Konkram by UNLF killed two civilians. Aishi, 1.5 km from the Myanmarese village of Molvailuk, is a meeting point for many insurgents and UNLF cadre members are known to visit there frequently to gather information about the Indian Army. In the 2012 Manipur assembly elections, a CRPF convoy was ambushed and attacked by insurgents. “Each of these villages has seen ambushes and attacks. The insurgents have specifically targeted Indian security forces. They have declared that their target is not the Manipur police but if they find Manipur police accompanying the Assam Rifles, they will attack them too,” says a senior government official in Ukhrul.

Two months ago, the Kuki village of Chorokhurnao became a bone of contention between India and Myanmar. Villagers had left several years earlier due to alleged harassment by the Myanmarese army. Two months ago, they came back to resettle but were chased away. The issue is now being resolved through diplomatic channels, says a government official. It is this village that is most frequently used by Meitei underground groups to enter India, attack and then retreat into Myanmar.

Kamjong village authority head S D Thomas says violence aside, Kamjong and its surrounding villages are victims of the conflict. “There is an SDO’s office here but the SDO is never there. There is one small hospital but instead of the sanctioned seven doctors, there are only two. The teachers who are supposed to be posted here have sublet their jobs to locals who may or may not be qualified to teach. The government officials who are posted here never come; they are afraid as this region is a known haven of insurgents,” he says.

Thomas says government schemes such as NREGS and PMGSY rarely take off and, even if they do, the projects are never completed because of the amount paid to militant groups from these schemes as extortion. This is true of the rest of Manipur too but the threat here is more potent, with the militants camped at their doorstep.

“It’s a vicious cycle. Development does not take place here because of the insurgency. But it’s the lack of development and road connectivity that has lent such favourable conditions to the insurgents. And India is so far away. As far as India is concerned, we don’t even exist,” says Thomas.
It’s a similar disenfranchisement with India that has earned sympathy for UG groups in the Kuki village of Phaikoh, close to where the Indian Army retaliation against insurgents took place.

“Electricity came to our village in 2005. We have had three years of electricity since. There are no medical facilities. And there is no pharmacy. We go to Myanmar and buy medicines. We get no rations, no funds for roads or any assistance from the state government. We don’t depend on India at all. We depend on Myanmar,” says Phaikoh “minister” Hemkhoshei.

So when UNLF comes and holds “medical camps’’ in the village, bringing their in-house doctor, or distribute medicines in this malaria-infested area, they are more than welcome. “They talk of development, which is more than our state government has ever done for us,’’adds Hemkhoshei.
15 June 2015

No Sign of Life in This Manipur Village

Assam Rifles personnel to carryout counter insurgency operation in a remote location of Chandel district . DEEPAK OINAMBy Ratnadip Choudhury
Life after ambush: Ever since attack, people have fled in hundreds

Tucked in between dense gurgles and undulating hillocks, Paraolon is now almost a ghost village.

Chandel (Manipur), Jun 15 : The spell of staccato of fire is still in the air; on June 4 just at stone throw distance from this remote village in Manipur’s Chandel district, a joint action unit of militants groups from the North-East ambushed troopers from 6 Dogra regiment who were passing their village as a part of their de-induction.

The attack left 18 Indian Army Jawans dead. The Army claims to have carried out at at least two clinical strikes and inflicted significant casualities.

Now what remain in Paraolon is a heavily armed security picket, domestic animals loitering around without food and with no signs of the local villagers. Ever since the attack they have fled in hundreds, Ten days have elapsed, yet not a single person has returned back to the village.

When journalists reached them on Sunday, some 30 km away in Ralringkhu village near Chandel town, they rubbished government and security agencies claims that confidence building measures are being taken in the border villages on the Indo-Myanmar border in Manipur. Paraolon villagers have raised serious security concerns and not a single villager have gone back to their village, since they apprehend’ threat to their lives.

“You have been the first media to find us out. We have been watching in TV so many new things about the militants and the Army counter attack, but no one is bothering about us. We fled in one cloth. Infact most of the villagers were in Chandel owing to the June 1 ADC polls. We had to cast our vote since there was an independent candidate from our village. While over 200 people were in Chandel, only 10 remained in the village when the attach took place. They came here the next day.

We have tried to reach out to the government asking for more security but to our dismay the government did not sent any official to us. The Army and the Assam Rifles never came. Even media went on reporting that we have started moving back, while the reality is that we are in deep fear and apprehend fresh attacks,” said village chief of Paraolon ADC village James Dilbung.

Officially Paraolon has a population of 412 people, but at any given time only 200 odd people live there since oters remains out of the village in search of work and education. Inhabited by the Lamkang Naga tribe, the village has very basic infrastructure. It takes them sometimes two hours to reach the district headquarter in Chandel town, electricity is almost never available and the village Public Healthcare centre (PHC) only has one nurse assigned who comes only once or twice a year. 

The village is dependent on Jhum (shifting cultivation), cutting firewood from the forest and fishing for a living.

Paraolon is the last Naga inhabited village near the Indo-Myanmar border, the border being about 25 Km away. After Paraolon, the village till the international border is dominated by the Kuki tribe. In fact this is not the first time Paraolon has seen violence.

“On April 15, 1993, during the Kuki-Naga ethnic clashes, our village was attacked by suspected Kuki militants. The entire village was torched, 5 people died in that attack. At that time the Manipur government did not help us, this time around the government even does not bother where we are,” says village elder S K Larsing, Many, who lost their houses in 1993, have once again been forced to take shelter in other villages and they fear more attack.
09 June 2015

NIA names leaders of wrong Naga faction in Manipur ambush case


Militants armed with advanced weapons ambushed a military convoy in Manipur’s Chandel district bordering Myanmar, killing at least 18 soldiers.

Guwahati, Jun 9 : The case registered by the National Investigation Agency on Saturday against several Naga rebel leaders in the June 4 ambush in Manipur that killed 18 soldiers has mistakenly identified two leaders of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khole Kitovi) as members of ‘NSCN (Khaplang) and its affiliates’.

The NSCN (KK) reacted late Monday night, questioning the NIA’s ‘high-class investigative agency’ tag and wondering how it targeted the wrong group.

NSCN (KK) was formed in 2011 after two senior leaders Khole Konyak and Kitovi Zhimomi fell out with SS Khaplang, chairman of NSCN (K) that abrogated a 14-year ceasefire with New Delhi on March 27. The ministry of home affairs did not lose time in recognising NSCN (KK) and inking a ceasefire pact with it.

A government official in Delhi said the Manipur police, which had initially registered the FIR, had made the mistake: “Since a central investigating agency is required to re-register the original FIR when it takes over a case, the error continues to be reflected in the NIA’s FIR also.”

“The government should have known that the NSCN and NSCN (K) are two separate parties. In spite of NSCN (K) claiming responsibility outright for the Chandel incident, NIA is wasting time implicating the wrong people,” a NSCN (KK) statement said.
08 June 2015

After the ambush: What needs to be done for peace in Manipur

Manipur police commandos detain and question locals after a rally against the Manipur state government in Mao. (AP file Photo)

Thursday's ambush of an Indian army convoy by militants in Manipur's Chandel district, about 15 km from the Myanmar border, in which 18 army personnel lost their lives has been described by the Prime Minister as a senseless act.

While the perpetrators are yet to be identified, all available evidence indicates the ambush was authorised by a new umbrella militant outfit called the United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW in short) formed a couple of months ago under the leadership of Khaplang, chairman of NSCN(K), a Naga insurgent group active in eastern Nagaland and having camps in the adjoining areas of Myanmar.

UNLFW is said to be a conglomerate of NSCN(K), United Liberation Front of Assam - Independent (ULFA-I), National Democratic Front of Boroland - Songbijit (NDFB-S), and Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO). This is not the first ambush inspired by UNLFW. There were two other ambushes on the Assam Rifles in the past few months, resulting in a loss of lives.

NSCN is a Naga insurgent group formed in 1975, having Naga sovereignty as its objective. In 1988, the group split into two factions, NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K). The Government of India and NSCN (IM), the larger group, entered into a ceasefire agreement in 1997 and peace talks soon after. The ceasefire still holds -- incidentally, it is one of the longest ongoing ceasefires in the world -- and the negotiations continue.

NSCN(K) also desired a ceasefire and in 2001 the government entered into such an agreement. Owing to strong differences between the two factions of NSCN, and also the fact that Khaplang himself lives mostly in Myanmar, direct formal peace talks with him could not commence.

Meanwhile, the Naga civil society tried its utmost and with persistence, to bring peace between the rival factions and to end factional killings. NSCN(K) keeps on splitting. In 2010, it split, leading to a new faction called NSCN-KK. In March 2015, Khaplang expelled two NSCN(K) leaders and unilaterally abrogated the ceasefire with the government on the ground that the ceasefire did not lead to any political solution.

The expelled leaders formed a new outfit called NSCN (Reformation) and in April 2015 signed a ceasefire agreement with the government for a period of one year. The government expressed its dissatisfaction with the Khaplang faction as its cadres continued to commit ceasefire violations and extortions.

NDFB(S) and ULFA(I) are also anti-talks factions, and have split from the parent organisations when the latter settled for negotiations with the government.

Reports that many other Meitei insurgent groups such as KYKL and KCP were closely involved with Khaplang in planning the creation of UNLFW, as a coordinating body to achieve the common objective of fighting against the government, are worrying. This tie-up could lead to various Northeast insurgent groups finding safe havens in NSCN(K) camps in Myanmar, easier procurement of illegal arms, better training for militant cadres, etc.

Manipur is largely comprised of hills (80% of the area) dominated by the Naga and Kuki tribes and the valley area (the remaining 20%) is almost exclusively inhabited by the Meiteis (read Manipuris).

There has been a large number of Meitei militant groups operating in the valley for several years. Their principal grievance is that the merger of Manipur state was done under pressure and that the Government of India gives more attention to Naga issues and not to issues related to the Meiteis.
Irrespective of the merits of these arguments, the fact remains that neither the government nor the Meitei insurgent groups ever seriously attempted to get to the negotiating table. The Meitei insurgency is being treated essentially as a law and order problem. It is important that a serious political dialogue is started with the Meitei groups to look at their social, developmental and political issues.

Even as regards the negotiations with Naga groups, with whom negotiations are going on or are to be commenced, the groups must feel convinced that the government is serious about finding a mutually acceptable solution. It is easier said than done. A lot depends on the reputation and credibility of the government’s interlocutors.

Simultaneously, the government should seek necessary cooperation from the Myanmar authorities to deny safe havens for militant groups active in India. The international border has to be managed in an effective manner to stop crossing over of militants.

Taking into account the cross movement of insurgent groups in the Northeast, the responsibility of sealing the India-Myanmar border should be the sole responsibility of the Army. A proper assessment of the performance of the Assam Rifles should be done and a decision taken about their deployment in the Northeast or elsewhere.

The state police forces should be strengthened substantially. They can be supported by central police organisations, which have been substantially strengthened in the last decade. If conditions in the Northeast improve, the government should review the use of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in specific areas.

The author is former home secretary and interlocutor for talks with the Naga group NSCN-IM. The views expressed are personal.
05 June 2015

20 Indian Soldiers Killed in Ambush in Manipur

By Hari Kumar

New Delhi, Jun 5 : At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed during an ambush Thursday by militants in the remote northeast of the country, in one of the deadliest confrontations in recent years.

The attack, in the Chandel district of Manipur State close to the border with Myanmar, was carried out against a small convoy of army vehicles traveling from one army camp to another in the hilly and forested area about 60 miles south of the state capital, Imphal.

“At least 20 soldiers were killed and 11 are injured,” said Col. Rohan Anand, an army spokesman in New Delhi. “The army convoy was first blasted using improvised explosive devices followed by rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire.”

Several similar attacks have been reported in recent months in the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

As Thursday’s ambush occurred in an area without phone communication, details were slow to emerge. “We are still waiting for the police party to come back,” said P. K. Tutusana, the spokeswoman for the Manipur police.

India’s defense minister, Manohar Parrikar, condemned the assault and vowed in a statement that “those who have committed this cowardly act will be brought to book.”

Manipur has 41 militant groups, though the government is currently in peace negotiations with 36 of them. However, the remaining five “are the most important ones,” said J. Suresh Babu the home secretary of Manipur. “This is a desperate attempt by militants to make their presence felt, and to try to make sure that people should not forget them.”
15 May 2015

Curfew Imposed in Imphal, 8 Members of Banned Outfit Held

The two masons died when they were taken "into custody" by the underground group during interrogation by the cadre members.

Kuki tribals, Kuki Revolutionary Front, KRF rebels, imphal curfew, imphal riot, imphal news, riot news, kuki news, India news
Children play near a vehicle torched in Imphal, Thursday.

By Esha Roy

Imphal, May 15 : Eight cadre members of the Kuki Revolutionary Front (KRF), a banned underground group in Manipur and a Suspension of Operation signatory with the Indian government, were picked up on Wednesday by a joint team of the Imphal West and Imphal East police commandos for the murder of two masons after a search operation was conducted in Thingsat village and its surrounding areas.

The two masons died when they were taken “into custody” by the underground group during interrogation by the cadre members. A furious mob turned violent on Thursday in light of these deaths in Patsoi village, where both the victims hailed from. They allegedly attempted burning a Church last night and today beat a Kuki driver to death. The violence has taken a communal turn as the masons belong to the majority Meitei community and there have been sporadic attacks on Kuki tribals travelling in the area. The Manipur police has imposed a curfew in the areas and has stopped movement on the Imphal-Jiribam highway where the village is located.
The two victims, both 20-years-old – Moirangthem Dayananda and Maibam Premananda – were working in Needy Home Academy, a residential school located at Maipou Khullen village. They, alongwith a 12-year-old Class 6 student Konthoujam Bishal, were picked up by the KRF cadre members who suspected them of being informants to another Meitei underground group. They went missing Sunday morning. On Tuesday, May 12, Bishal was handed over to his family by the KRF who also informed them that Dayananda and Premananda had “died during interrogation”. Bishal is presently being treated at the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences.

The police have since recovered Abung and Premanandas bodies. Furious Patosi villagers have been blocking the national highway with human chains and tree branches and boulders and burning tyres at various points on the national highway. Police teams have been deployed along the highway to control the situation. They have imposed a curfew in the area and the Joint Action Committee formed by the family members of the deceased and villagers have called a 24-hour general strike from midnight tonight till midnight tomorrow.

The villagers have tried to burn a Church at Patsoi village last night. Five passenger vehicles were halted today and the passengers were made to disembark. The passengers, all belonging to the Kuki tribe, were beaten up – some severely. The five vehicles were then set on fire by the irate mob. A Shaktiman driver, another Kuki tribe members, was also beaten up by the mob. He succumbed to his injuries as he was being rushed to the hospital by the police. Sources said that there have been sporadic attacks on anyone being identified as belonging to the Kuki tribe.

The JAC has demanded an explanation from the KRF as to why these boys had been killed. They have also demanded that the government take action against the group and provide “befitting punishment’’ to the arrested cadre members. They have contended that such incidents do take place every once in a while but the government has not only failed to take action in the past but proper investigations are also not conducted into such incidents.
27 March 2015

VDF Rally in Imphal Turns Violent, Several Arrested

Imphal, Mar 27 : The Manipur Police today fired several rounds of tear gas shells and live bullets as the agitating Village Defence Force (VDF) personnel turned violent and tried to manhandle Imphal West Additional SP (Law and Order) S. Ibomcha at Khoyathong.After holding a meeting at THAU ground under the aegis of All Manipur VDF Welfare Association, over 1000 VDF personnel took out a rally towards Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh's residence.

Their demands included honorarium hike, setting up of a separate VDF battalion and service security.

A heated verbal confrontation broke out between the VDF personnel and a police team led by S. Ibomcha as the rally was blocked near ABC godown, Khoyathong.

Later, the police teams led by the OCs of Imphal and City Police stations and Imphal West Commando DSP Krishnatombi also arrived at the spot to control the agitating VDF personnel.
The police personnel later fired some tear gas shells to disperse the agitators as they tried to force their way towards the Chief Minister's bungalow pelting stones on the police.

In the clash, a group of VDF personnel rushed towards Ibomcha with one of them trying to manhandle the police officer, who was trying to help an injured VDF personnel.

On seeing the attack on the Additional SP, Imphal West commando DSP Krishnatombi and his team fired several rounds of live bullets in the air.

Several VDF personnel were taken into custody after the untoward incident.