Tension rises in Manipur following attacks on Kuki youths

Imphal, Feb 7 (IANS) Manipur Police beefed up security measures on Sunday as Kuki organisations condemned the “unprovoked” gun attack on February 3 on Kukis in Molnom villagers near Pallel town along National Highway 2.

Several shots were fired at the terrified villagers in Molnom. One youth, Lunkhogin Haokip, sustained serious injuries, Kukis of the village said.

In a joint statement condemning the incident, the Kuki Chiefs’ Association in Chandel district, the Kuki People’s Forum, the Thadou Students’ Association, and the Kuki Students’ Organisation said that some cadres of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) had opened fire at the villagers.

The Kuki Reformation Forum also condemned what it described as the unprovoked firing. In a statement it said the incident reminded the people of the “ethnic cleansing” started by the NSCN-IM.

Over the years of, more than 1,000 innocent men, women and children have died in the armed clashes between the two tribes.

The joint statement said that the NSCN-IM cadres surrounded the Molnom village on February 3 night and opened fire at three youths who had gone to a mountain stream. It appealed to the central and state governments to bring about a resolution to such unprovoked firing.

It said that on August 22 last year the Aimol Ngairong village was attacked with bombs and guns, which caused the death of one villager.

While a mass rally was organised on Saturday for the “integrity” of the state, the All Naga Students’ Association Manipur (ANSAM) demanded an “alternative arrangement for the Nagas in Manipur”.

The long standing demand of the Nagas in the state is that since they no longer want to live under the “communal government” led by Okram Ibobi Singha, there should be a separate arrangement for them.

ANSAM, which claims to represent the Naga tribal youth and students in Manipur, has cited three incidents in which 13 tribal youths were killed as instances of atrocities committed by the state.

Though police said at times they opened fire to control unruly mobs, the ANSAM says the “communal government” of Manipur had committed these “excesses” to intimidate those demanding their constitutional rights and restoration of law and order.

The government, most of the political parties and civil society organisations assert that there cannot be what they call a “vivisection of Manipur” as an appeasement policy.

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