Manipur: Dark Substance Pollutes Iril River; Suspicions of Militant Attack Surface

Concerns rise in Manipur as a dark substance spill into the Iril River, sparking fears of deliberate attacks by Kuki militants.
Manipur: Dark Substance Pollutes Iril River; Suspicions of Militant Attack Surface

IMPHAL: Another environmental crisis has unfolded near Dolaithabi Dam. Reports indicate a dark-colored substance has spilled into the Iril River, heightening apprehension among residents who heavily rely on the river for their daily needs.

Eyewitnesses speculate the incident might be a deliberate attack by Kuki militants targeting the Meetei community, known for their dependence on the Iril River for water consumption. Authorities have taken swift action, closing the barrage of the Dolaithabi Dam to prevent further spread of the unidentified substance.

Upon arriving at the scene, SP of Imphal East S Ibomcha sought to reassure the public, stating that the black-colored substance is soluble and may not pose an immediate risk to public health. However, definitive confirmation awaits pending testing.

A team from the Imphal East Administration, led by the Deputy Commissioner, along with officials from the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, has been dispatched to assess the situation and gather information. Despite efforts to collect water samples, the substance had reportedly dissolved by the time officials arrived, prolonging the investigation process.

As results of testing remain pending, residents of Pukhao, who witnessed the incident, have urged caution, advising others living alongside the Iril River to refrain from using its water until government authorities declare it safe for consumption.

This incident follows a recent heavy fuel leakage reported on January 10 at Manipur’s Leimakhong Power Station in Imphal West, allegedly instigated by Kuki militants amid the ongoing communal crisis. The leakage resulted in pollutants discharging into streams, exacerbating concerns among local communities dependent on stream water for their livelihoods. An officer of the Manipur State Power Company Limited (MSPCL) has been suspended pending further investigation.

As authorities work to ascertain the nature and extent of the substance spilled into the Iril River, residents remain on edge, hoping for swift resolution and assurances of their safety. COCOMI has strongly condemned the suspected oil spill, alleging genocidal attempts by armed Kuki groups. The organization calls for an immediate response to apprehend both culprits and involved groups, emphasizing the need to stop the repeated targeting of civilians by Armed Kuki Groups in Manipur, which has claimed the lives of 28 civilians in the last two months.

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