Manipur Police commandos lay down arms in protest against ASP abduction

Police commandos of all five valley districts put down their arms asking for action against radical Meitei group Arambai Tenggol

Part of the cache of arms recovered on Tuesday
Part of the cache of arms recovered on Tuesday


Manipur Police commandos on Wednesday laid down their arms in protest against the abduction of additional superintendent of police (ASP) Amit Kumar Moirangthem, and demanded they be allowed to retaliate when attacked.

The police commandos of all five valley districts put down their arms asking for action against radical Meitei group Arambai Tenggol, and "no hindrance from political executives" when the forces act against the outfit, officials said.

The personnel were protesting Tuesday's incident during which a group of Meira Paibi (a women's volunteer group) and members of militant Meitei organisation Arambai Tenggol kidnapped the officer and beat up the personnel guarding him. The officer was rescued within hours, and is currently hospitalised.

The Army had to be called in as tension mounted afresh in Manipur East district on Tuesday, and four columns of Assam Rifles were deployed after the police officer was abducted. Senior police officials were talking to their personnel, assuring them that strict action would be taken against the perpetrators.

"You can't keep snakes in your backyard and expect them to only bite your neighbour. This was stated by then US secretary of state Hillary Clinton to Pakistan in 2011 but today, it holds good for Manipur, where a section of the community was welcoming the return of these terror and radical groups," a senior security official said.

The region has witnessed escalating violence since 3 May, with over 200 fatalities reported following a 'Tribal Solidarity March' in the hill districts against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The Meiteis, constituting around 53 per cent of Manipur's population and residing predominantly in the Imphal Valley, are in opposition to the tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, who make up 40 per cent and primarily inhabit the hill districts

On Tuesday, Combined forces of the Assam Rifles and Manipur Police recovered a cache of arms and ammunition during routine search operations at Sabungkhok Khunao Chanung ridge in Imphal East district, the police said.

The recovered items, which were found on Monday, included three improvised long-range mortar, two empty cases of improvised long-range mortar, three live rounds of mortar, a 9mm pistol along with magazine, three live grenades, one live two-inch mortar round, one 12 bore single barrel gun and 12 live bore rounds.

On 24 February. Manipur Police halted the movement of transferred personnel "wherever applicable, in view of the current crisis", and stated that the transfer orders remain in effect but the personnel will be moved as and when required.

The halt came after a tribal body wrote to Union home minister Amit Shah expressing concern over the safety of Kuki policemen in Meitei-dominated areas. The police stated that the transfer orders were issued to streamline excess manpower, but there was no need for immediate movement of the personnel at this stage in view of the current crisis.

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