Tensions have soared in the Indian state of Manipur following the tragic killing of two teenagers, sparking protests that escalated into clashes between demonstrators and police personnel in the state capital, Imphal. To restore order, police resorted to baton charges and fired tear gas shells, prompting the immediate reimposition of a curfew in the area.
The unrest began after disturbing photos of the two victims, both 17 years old, emerged on Monday. The first image showed the teenagers seated on the grass within what appeared to be a jungle camp, surrounded by armed individuals. In the subsequent photo, both youths lay lifeless on the ground, their lives brutally cut short.
Massive demonstrations against these killings erupted, predominantly led by students, on Tuesday night. Protesters attempted to march towards the residence of Chief Minister Biren Singh but were halted by authorities. On Wednesday morning, the protests continued near Kangla Fort, close to the chief minister’s residence, leading to clashes between demonstrators and the police.
Efforts to control the situation proved ineffective, forcing police personnel to utilize baton charges and tear gas to disperse the protesters. Initial reports suggest several demonstrators sustained injuries, some of them severe.
In response to the escalating crisis, Chief Minister Biren Singh announced a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the deaths of the two students. A team led by a special director of the agency arrived in Imphal to initiate the investigation.
The prompt decision to involve the CBI sparked protests from members of another community, accusing the Biren Singh government of bias in handling the ongoing ethnic violence that has plagued the state since May 3.
In addition to the reimposed curfew, mobile internet services were banned in the state on Tuesday following protests over the students’ killings. The ban on mobile internet had been lifted only on September 23, almost five months after its initial imposition.
On the same day, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was extended for another six months in Manipur. The areas excluded from the purview of AFSPA include 19 police stations within the Imphal valley and an area bordering Assam.
The state home department issued a notification stating, “The Governor of Manipur is of the opinion that the violent activities of various extremist/insurgent groups warrant the use of Armed Forces in aid of civil administration in the entire State of Manipur except the areas falling under the jurisdiction of 19 Police Stations.”
Notably, over 180 lives have been lost, and more than 3,000 individuals have been injured in the ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur. The violence commenced on May 3, following a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ organized in the hill districts to protest the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status. This unrest has left over 60,000 people displaced and resulted in extensive property damage worth thousands of crores.
The situation in Manipur remains tense, with ethnic violence continuing to claim lives and disrupt peace in the region. The reimposition of curfews and the extension of AFSPA reflect the gravity of the crisis and the need for urgent measures to restore order and protect the welfare of residents.
Sources By Agencies