Imphal, Jan 18:
A village volunteer lost his life in a fierce gun battle at Kangchup in Kangpokpi district, officials confirmed on Thursday. Another three villagers were seriously injured in an attack by Kuki militants at Ningthoukhong Kha Khunou in Bishnupur district this afternoon. One among the three reported died. The deadly shootout at Kangchup occurred on Wednesday night when Kuki militants launched an assault on Kangchup from nearby hill areas, prompting village volunteers in the low-lying locality to retaliate, according to reports. On the other hand, three villagers were critically injured after armed Kuki militants fired towards them at Ningthoukhong Kha Khunou today evening. Report reaching here said the three villagers went to fetch water when the firing took place. Late report added that two of the injured succumbed while the other is slinging his life.
The Kangchup incident is part of a series of gunfights that erupted at various locations in Imphal Valley and hill areas on the same night, perpetrated by Kuki militants.
In response to the killing, a large number of women staged a rally in Imphal on Thursday, protesting against the escalating violence in the state. They called for the removal of Kuldiep Singh, the chairman of the inter-agency Unified Command, appointed by the Manipur governor in May last year.
The women protesters marched from the main market area of Imphal towards the CM Bungalow and the Raj Bhavan. However, the demonstration was halted around 300 meters from the Raj Bhavan, leading to a confrontation between the protesters and security personnel. Tear gas shells were reportedly fired by the police to disperse the crowd.
The protest was triggered by the death of T Manoranjan, a village volunteer killed in the Kangchup gunfight on Wednesday night. Multiple gunfights were also reported from Phayeng, Kadangband, and Koutruk in Imphal West district, Sagolmang in Imphal East, Sinam Kom in Kangpokpi, and Irengbam in Bishnupur.
Security forces responded quickly and controlled the situation, with several injuries reported in these incidents.
In another protest at Moirangkhom, combined security forces deployed heavy tear gas against thousands of protestors, obstructing Meira Paibis from relief camps, and Youth of Manipur members from advancing toward the CM Bungalow. The demonstrators were en-route to meet Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, Unified Command Chief Kuldiep Singh, and the Governor of Manipur, Anusuiya Uikey, to address the recent killings of Manipur Security forces and village volunteers. Their objective was to voice concerns, drop their grievances, and urgently seek a resolution to the ongoing crisis.