Five policemen suspended over May 4 Manipur incident; IG rank officer to probe armoury looting

Imphal: Nine people including five Meira Paibis (Women torch bearers) were arrested in connection with the brutal killing of a Naga Maring lady

BY | Sunday, 6 August, 2023

Manipur Police has suspended five police personnel including the station incharge of the area where the incident of two women being stripped and paraded by a mob had taken place on May 4, officials said on Sunday. The officials said immediately after the video of the incident surfaced on July 19, Manipur police decided to suspend the station in-charge of Nongpok Sekmai police station in Thoubal district and four other police personnel. The action was taken promptly and has not been reversed despite daily protests by some sections of people from the majority community for their reinstatement, they said. The state police has also ordered a time-bound inquiry under an Inspector General of Police to probe events leading to the looting of an armoury on August 3 in Bishnupur, they said. Talking to PTI, the officials in the know of developments said that every effort was being made by the Manipur Police to end the cycle of violence in the state which began on May 3 between the majority Meitei and tribal Kuki community.

They said that the police had been working relentlessly to ensure that the breakdown in law and order was addressed on an urgent basis. “Now for example, with the help of other agencies including the Army and Assam Rifles, we have managed to keep the essential supplies in surplus quantity. “This is the season of farming and we can’t wait for complete peace to return. So, we have to manage it and that means an additional diversion of police force to the foothills where farming is done for the famous black rice,” said one of the officials. Around 300 people have been arrested so far in various cases.

There have been many zero FIRs registered during the ethnic clashes and every claim has to be cross-checked, they said. The officials said that a time-bound inquiry has been instituted in connection with the recent looting of arms and around 19,000 bullets from the headquarters of the 2nd India Reserve Battalion (IRB) located at Naranseina in Bishnupur district. An officer of the rank of Inspector General is heading the inquiry which will be completed within six weeks, the officials said. A crowd had gathered there on August 3 to march towards Churachandpur where the tribals were planning to carry out a mass burial of their people killed in ethnic clashes that broke out in the state on May 3, they said. Highlighting the “proactive” approach of Manipur Police, the officials said that as many as 30 people were arrested after an attack on an Inspector General rank officer outside the airport last month.

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Nine people including five Meira Paibis (Women torch bearers) were arrested in connection with the brutal killing of a Naga Maring lady on July 15. “In Manipur, a day without an incident is called an ‘absence of violence’ and is not perceived as a thing that has become normal. It is a long way to go before things can be normal,” an official said. More than 160 people lost their lives and several hundred were injured since the ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur on May 3, after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis — constitute little over 40 per cent and reside in the hill districts.

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