Imphal: A large number of school students took to the streets on Saturday staging a sit-in at trouble torn Manipur's Moreh town along India-Myanmar border in the state's Tengnoupal district, demanding resumption of regular classes.
At a time when the state government is intensifying its efforts to strengthen strategic measures to combat the persistent attacks by militants on the state police commandos stationed in the Tengnoupal district's Moreh town.
Moreh has been grappling with intense firing since the eruption of the ongoing ethnic conflict in the restive state on May 3 last year, resulting in destruction of thousands of homes, shops, thousands fleeing the border town, deaths, casualties and injuries, including security forces.
Expressing their concerns over the impact of the ongoing conflict on their education, students, predominantly from the non-Meitei communities, particularly the Kukis, took to the streets with placards bearing slogans such as "Education, our birthright," "We want reopening of schools," and "Remove police commando so that we can go to school".
"There was a deliberate attempt to destroy the educational institution by burning three high schools in Moreh town," submitted the students, who are from the 36 government and private schools in Moreh.
They alleged that the state government was jeopardizing their future.
Meanwhile, Meitei community residents of Moreh, currently residing in relief camps in Thoubal district after their homes were torched, claimed the school students are being used as pawns to further the demand for the removal of state forces and commandos from the border town under the guise of educational concerns. "Their agenda is to lobby for the removal of the state forces, particularly the commandos and grab our Meitei lands after they have razed our houses to the ground," alleged S. Manglem, a displaced resident.
Another non-Meitei resident, speaking over the phone from Moreh, provided clarification that on January 17, three high schools in Moreh were completely destroyed when a rocket-propelled grenade accidentally struck the schools during an attack by suspected Kuki militants on state forces.
The sustained assault resulted in the tragic loss of at least two state forces personnel, Takhellambam Saileshwor and Wangkhem Somorjit Meitei on that day.
In response to the heightened attacks on the security personnel in Moreh, leading to the tragic deaths of the two jawans, the state government has established a strategic post in and around the town.
According to official sources, some combatant police officers have relocated to the town and commenced duty. Security advisor to the state government, Kuldiep Singh, said that the special commando unit in Moreh has been moved to a more strategic location, enhancing their ability to respond to militant attacks effectively. Manipur's Director General of Police, Rajiv Singh, interacting with the media, highlighted the security scenario in Moreh, stressing the presence of a joint coordination committee of the combined security forces deployed in Moreh comprised Manipur Police's Inspector General, Deputy Inspector General, and various armed forces, including the BSF and Assam Rifles.
Singh asserted that the strategic and tactical moves undertaken cannot be disclosed openly due to their sensitive nature.
"The situation at Moreh is moving towards normalcy, and it will improve with the cooperation of the public and leaders from both communities," reassured Rajiv Singh.
While the call for the resumption of classes in Moreh by the students to prioritise education despite the challenging circumstances is an issue to be taken seriously, the sequence of events also shed light on the complex interplay of socio-political dynamics in the international border town, an official observed. (IANS)