Manipur govt issues 'shoot at sight' order in 'extreme cases' amid raging violence
Imphal: The Manipur government has given a “shoot at sight” order to security personnel to contain raging violence between the tribals and non-tribals in the state even as the situation in the capital Imphal worsened, reports said. The Army has been brought in to quell the violence and evacuate the people to safer places while curfew has been imposed from dawn to dusk.
A protest march on Tuesday by the tribals against the demand of including the non-tribal Meitei community in the scheduled tribe category unleashed spiralling violence.
A total of 55 army columns and the Rapid Action Force has been reinforced to strengthen security measures, reported NDTV.
The Manipur Governor signed the orders this evening empowering the state's magistrates to issue "shoot at sight orders in extreme cases whereby all forms of persuasion, warning, reasonable force, etc. had been exhausted,” said the report.
The authorities have deployed approximately 500 members of the Rapid Action Force, a specialized police force for riot control, to Imphal. They have joined the state police, the army, Assam Rifles, and the Central Reserve Police Force, who have been trying to bring the violence under control since Wednesday. The soldiers of the Indian Army held flag marches in the violence-hit regions.
As social media was inundated with images of burning houses and shops, various appeals for peace have been made in the past few days.
The violence that started on Wednesday has prompted the imposition of curfew in several districts, including Meitei-dominated Imphal West, Kakching, Thoubal, Jiribam, and Bishnupur, as well as tribal-dominated Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, and Tengnoupal. Mobile internet services have also been suspended throughout the state.
Indian Army evacuates civilians
Indian Army and Assam Rifles undertook major rescue operations to evacuate more than 7500 civilians of all communities relentlessly throughout the night to restore law and order in Manipur. Indian Army remains committed to the well-being and safety of the population of Manipur, Defence PRO said in a statement.
Approximately 5,000 individuals have been relocated to safe homes in Churachandpur, another 2,000 in Imphal Valley, and 2,000 in the border town of Moreh in the Tenugopal district, the spokesperson said.
As of now over 9,000 people have been evacuated from the areas affected by the violence by security forces, said reports.
Manipur CM appeals for peace
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Thursday appealed to all to maintain peace and tranquility in the state following clashes between two communities.
He said people should not circulate wrong messages and rumours and all should work hard to restore normalcy in the state.
He appealed to all leaders, civil society leaders and the people to work together to restore peace.
Deadly clashes erupted on Wednesday after the All Tribal Students' Union, Manipur (ATSUM) organised a protest rally against the Court order of the Manipur High Court which gave direction to the Manipur government to take a decision on the demand of Meitei community to include them in the ST list.
A large number of houses were burnt at Bishenpur, Moreh, Imphal East, Imphal West, Churachandpur districts. There was massive protest throughout the state as reports of alleged rape of women came from Churachandpur district.
On Thursday troops managed to rescue a large number of people who were stranded in various places. Army officials said violence erupted in areas of Churachandpur, Kangpokpi and Imphal districts.
Army and Assam Rifles have been requisitioned by the administration on the intervening night of 03 May and 04 May 2023.
The columns of the Indian Army and Assam Rifles along with Manipur police intervened promptly to control the situation.
Violence was controlled by morning hours. However, approximately 4000 villagers have been provided shelter in various Army/Assam Rifles camps and state government premises at various locations.
Flag marches are being conducted to keep the situation under control. Shifting of villagers to safer areas is also under progress.
The situation remained tense and central security personnel arrived here on Thursday to help state forces control the situation. The Manipur government imposed a curfew and suspended mobile internet services on Wednesday.