Imphal, July 4:
The claims of returning normalcy by Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh were shattered again as a protest turned violent in the Thoubal district, resulting in the tragic death of a civilian and leaving several others injured. The protest was triggered by the continuous attacks by Kuki militants, which the demonstrators claimed were not being adequately addressed by the security forces.
The incident unfolded at approximately 11:30 am when a large crowd, estimated to be in the thousands, stormed the 3rd Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) Camp, demanding access to arms and ammunition to protect their villages from the relentless Kuki militant attacks. Alleging that the security personnel were failing to provide adequate protection, the protesters demanded the means to defend themselves and their communities.
In response to the escalating situation, the Thoubal District Police swiftly dispatched reinforcements to control the unrest. Negotiations were initiated between some representatives of the protesters and the security personnel, but the crowd continued to grow, intensifying the tension on the ground. As tensions reached a boiling point, the police resorted to firing tear gas shells and live rounds to disperse the agitated demonstrators.
Tragically, amidst the chaos, a civilian lost his life. The victim has been identified as 27-year-old Abujam Ronaldo, son of the late Ibungo from Heirok Part-III Kabo Leikai. He suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head and was rushed to Imphal but succumbed to his injuries en route, according to sources. The incident has sparked outrage among the local populace, prompting large numbers of people to block the Imphal to Moreh roads in protest.
As of the time of reporting, the situation in the area remains tense, with the incident highlighting the deep-seated concerns and frustrations of the local population regarding their safety and security. The clash between civilians and security forces underscores the urgency of addressing the escalating threats posed by Kuki militants and restoring peace in Manipur. Given the escalating situation, the District Administration, Thoubal, has suspended the curfew relaxation at 2 pm.