Manipur Violence: Violent Protests Erupt in Manipur Following Youth Deaths
Escalating protests in Manipur over youth deaths spark clashes with security forces as tensions rise in the Northeastern state.
IMPHAL: In Manipur, recent violent protests have surged in intensity following the tragic deaths of two youths on a fateful Thursday morning. The escalating turmoil has seen mobs setting vehicles ablaze and vandalizing the Deputy Commissioner's office in Imphal West, all as part of ongoing demonstrations in the state. These protests, now driven primarily by students, were reignited after images of the bodies of two youths who had gone missing in July went viral on social media.
As tensions flared, the situation deteriorated further. Protesters clashed with security personnel in various areas, including Uripok, Yaiskul, Sagolband, and Tera, prompting security forces to resort to firing multiple rounds of tear gas shells in an attempt to regain control. Demonstrators blocked roads with burning tires, boulders, and iron pipes to hinder the advance of security forces into residential areas.
Responding swiftly to the escalating unrest, CRPF personnel took action to quell the situation. Curfew was re-imposed in the two affected districts, Imphal East and West, as security forces grappled with the violent protests. Since Tuesday, a staggering 65 demonstrators had been injured.
The Manipur police issued a statement in which they alleged that a mob had attacked a police vehicle, setting it ablaze while also assaulting a policeman and seizing his weapon. The police vowed to take stringent action against those involved in such criminal activities. A search operation was initiated to recover the stolen weapons and apprehend the culprits.
Amid the chaos, the Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights made an urgent plea to the security forces, requesting restraint in their response to teenagers. They urged against resorting to lathi-charges, tear gas shells, and rubber bullets when dealing with young demonstrators.
The backdrop of these violent protests is a broader and deeply rooted issue. Manipur has been engulfed in ethnic violence since May 3, triggered by a 'Tribal Solidarity March' held in the hill districts. This march was organized in protest of the majority Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe status. The Meiteis constitute approximately 53 percent of Manipur's population and predominantly reside in the Imphal valley, while tribal groups, including Nagas and Kukis, make up 40 percent of the population and are concentrated in the hill districts.
The death of the two youths, combined with longstanding tensions over tribal rights and identity, has ignited a dangerous confluence of factors, leading to these violent protests. The situation remains volatile, and efforts to restore calm are ongoing.
Manipur is currently grappling with a surge in violent protests triggered by the deaths of two youths. The protests, led by students, have resulted in clashes with security forces, curfew re-imposition, and a call for restraint when dealing with young demonstrators. This turmoil is rooted in ethnic tensions that have been simmering in the state for months, making the situation extremely delicate and challenging to resolve.