Security forces continue operations to recover arms, ammunitions in Manipur
Militants and other assailants have been found to be using drones, sophisticated weaponry and mortars during the course of the conflict
As ethnic violence in Manipur continues unabated for nearly three months now, militants and other assailants have been found to be using drones, sophisticated weapons, and mortars while the regular exchange of firing between the rival outfits and the security forces continues.
The combined security forces, comprising central and state forces, continued their operation to recover the arms and ammunition and so far over 300 illegal bunkers, set up by the different ethnic groups, and militants were destroyed during this month.
Local media reports said that at least 10 suspected militants were killed and several others injured following fierce gunfights between state police, central forces and the militants at various places of Bishnupur district on Thursday and Friday.
Police and the officials so far neither denied nor confirmed yet the several hours long gunbattle in the trouble-torn district.
Meitei organisations alleged that the Kuki militants are attacking villages inhabited by their community in daylight, and they are aiming their guns directly from the hills onto the Meitei. They also said that the Kuki outfits are using drone to drop grenades and other ammunition in the villages.
There are many bunkers that still exist in both hill and valley areas and the village volunteers of both Meitei and Kuki communities are guarding their villages in these bunkers round-the-clock.
On the other hand the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) on Friday said that it has learned that Manipur's newly opened Khongsang railway station in Tamenglong district is being used to ferry guns and ammunition into the state with full knowledge of the state government.
"We fear that these weapons would be used to attack Kuki-Zo tribal settlements. In May, more than 4,000 weapons and over two lakh ammunition were looted from armouries in Imphal and the surrounding valley by Meitei mobs, and these weapons are most likely being used in the majority community's ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign," ITLF spokesman Ginza Vualzong alleged.
"We request the relevant authorities to look into the matter and stop the use of trains to bring more weapons into the state."
However, railway and the state government sources termed the ITLF’s allegations as "wild and entirely unfounded".
Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Chief Public Relations Officer Sabyasachi De said that train operations in Manipur were suspended since May 5 when the law and order crisis started in the state. "Only one freight train carrying essential commodities has entered Manipur on Monday since then. Moreover, Khongsang Railway station has acted as a base for a Territorial Army Company. This company is responsible for the safety of railway staff and assets in the region," he said.
The ITLF’s allegations are completely misleading and has been issued with an aim to create panic among the public regarding railways, he added.
Various reports, and political parties claimed that during the ethnic riots, which broke out in Manipur on May 3, over 4,000 different types of sophisticated arms and lakhs of different types of ammunition were looted from the police stations and police outposts by the mobs, attackers and militants. The security forces so far recovered half of the looted arms.