On January 11, another harrowing incident of violence was witnessed in the Churachandpur district of Manipur where three men, who had been previously missing, were found dead in the area. Involvements of militants in this case of death of three is being alleged, although no specific group has been identified as responsible for the attack. The said three have been identified as Oinam Romen Meitei (aged 45), Thoudam Ibomcha Meitei (aged 53) and his son Thoudam Anand Meitei (aged 27). It is pertinent to note that along with the abovementioned three, Ahanthem Dara Meitei had also gone missing but there are no updates regarding him and the search is ongoing.
As per a report of the Indian Express, the four men, from Manipur’s Kumbi assembly constituency, had reportedly gone missing on January 10, as their group had gone to collect firewood near the hill ranges adjoining Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts. When the group did not return, missing reports were filed at the police station. Even as the news had surfaced then, sources had highlighted the possibility of the missing four of being held captive by militants and that help from central forces had sought to deal with the same.
Along with this report, on the same day, an incident of firing was also reported between Wangoo in Thoubal district and Kumbi in Bishnupur district. As per a report of Mint, six rounds of mortar fire took place before small firearms started.
It is crucial to highlight here that this was not the first incident of gun violence that has taken place in Manipur in the month of January, colouring a dimmer picture of the law and order situation in the state than what Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh had wanted to showcase when he had said that “violence in the state is 90% under control” in October 2023.
Gun violence incidents in January:
Reports of fresh violence in the state of Manipur keep coming out every few days, involving attacks by one group or the other against each other or against the security forces. Similar battles of gun firing and violence had been surfacing from the violence hit state since the beginning of the year 2024. Even when we are only 12 days into this year, the aforementioned incident of gun violence is the four such incident.
Prior to firing that took place on January 11, Manipur’s border town Moreh had witnessed gun fires between security personnel and militants. The gunfight at Moreh, which borders Myanmar, broke out late on January 7, a Sunday, which triggered panic among the villages. As per multiple media report, more than 200 villagers left their homes in Moreh as a consequence of the violence. The said firing was reported at Ward 7 and Moreh Bazar. As per a report of Mint, Militants had also used bombs to target security forces, according to the officials. It is crucial to highlight here that the exchange of gunfire between the security personnel and militants had continued for days.
In a separate incident, on January 2, at least seven security personnel, four Manipur police commandos and three personnel from the Border Security Force, got injured in an attack while they were on their way for a search operation. At least five of the injured personnel had been airlifted to Imphal for better treatment.
On January 1, according to a report of the Wire, saw four people bring allegedly shot dead by armed men in Manipur’s Valley district of Thoubal. The violence also resulted in five locals being injured and admitted to the hospital. The incident prompted the authorities to re-impose curfew across Valley districts, namely Thoubal, Imphal East, Kakching, and Bishnupur.