IMPHAL: Daytime curfew was clamped back in Imphal East and West after 17 persons were injured in clashes on Thursday. To bring the situation under control and disperse the crowd, the Army and Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel resorted to firing tear gas shells at Kangvai and Phougakchao in Bishnupur district.
The district magistrates of both East and the West Imphal reimposed the restrictions during the day as a precautionary measure. It was also informed that the night curfew will continue as before. Earlier, the government had extended the curfew-free window in the districts, allowing movement from 5 am to 8 pm.
Tension was brewing in the state since the morning after thousands came out on to the streets to block the movement of security forces. Last night, reports of two abandoned houses being torched by unidentified individuals in Langol, West Imphal too had added to the tension.
Hours before the clashes, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) had postponed a planned mass burial of 35 victims in the violence for five days after discussions with the Union Home Ministry.
Initially, the ITLF had announced that the mass burial would take place in S Boljang, near Haolai Khopi, on Thursday but the choice of location caused friction with the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity, which claimed that the site fell within Bishnupur district and termed it “an affront to the people”. But locals led by women tried to pass the barricade put up by the Army and RAF personnel, demanding that they be allowed to go to the burial site.
In the morning, the state’s High Court had ordered status quo to be maintained at the proposed burial site in Churachandpur district.
The ITLF, an apex tribal body, expressed its commitment to continue pressing the government for a solution to the crisis, and the security establishment remains vigilant.