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Imphal, September 28, 2023 – The Imphal Valley continues to be engulfed in chaos and lawlessness as radical Meitei youths take to the streets for the third consecutive day, protesting the alleged killings of two Meitei youths by unidentified individuals.
The protests, which began peacefully, have turned increasingly violent, resulting in widespread rioting, arson, and confrontations with security forces. The situation has left the region in a state of turmoil, with any semblance of law and order seemingly evaporating.
Protests Take a Violent Turn
The protests initially erupted in response to disturbing photos that circulated on social media, allegedly depicting the lifeless bodies of two Meitei youths who had reportedly fled their homes. The circumstances surrounding their deaths remain unclear, fueling anger and frustration among Meitei youths. As the protests intensified, the situation quickly spiraled out of control.
On the second day of protests, demonstrators took to the streets en masse, resorting to violence and destruction of public and private property. Notably, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Mandal office in Khongjom, Thoubal, was set ablaze, and the District Administration’s Office in Thoubal was attacked by the angry mobs. Shockingly, video footage emerged showing a radical youth scaling the gates of the District Administration’s Office and hoisting a secessionist flag known as the Salai Taret flag. This act of defiance against the government’s authority further escalated tensions.
Additionally, videos captured scenes of radical Meitei women forcibly evicting personnel of the Central security forces in Khongjom, hurling their belongings onto the streets. The videos depict the audacious behavior of the Meira Paibis, a prominent women’s organization in Manipur, which played a pivotal role in ousting the Central security forces from their posts.
Violence Escalates: Militants and Armed Radical Youth
The situation took a dangerous turn as the radical Meitei mobs clashed with security forces. A Manipur Police vehicle was attacked and set ablaze in Loklaobung Moirangkhom, Imphal West. Shockingly, videos surfaced showing armed Meitei militants dressed in combat gear participating in the protests alongside the radical mobs. In one incident, a radical youth was seen forcibly disarming a police officer, prompting authorities to file a case against the attackers.
Another alarming development has been the use of solid metallic projectiles as weapons by the radical Meitei protesters. These projectiles were employed with the intent to cause serious injuries to security personnel, further exacerbating the confrontations.
Calls for Chief Minister’s Removal
In an unprecedented twist, the Meitei radicals have turned their anger against Chief Minister N. Biren Singh’s government. Effigies of Chief Minister Biren Singh were burned, and protesters loudly chanted derogatory slogans against him. The growing sentiment on both sides of the Imphal Valley and the Hills is the urgent need for the removal of Chief Minister Biren Singh, whom many perceive as incompetent and autocratic.
The volatile situation in Imphal Valley underscores the deep-seated frustrations and grievances held by the Meitei community. The alleged killings of two Meitei youths, which remain shrouded in mystery, have ignited a fierce demand for justice and accountability. The protests, while initially peaceful, have now morphed into a larger movement challenging not only the government but the prevailing socio-political landscape in Manipur.
Authorities Scramble to Restore Order
The Manipur government and security forces are facing a formidable challenge in restoring law and order in the region. The escalation of violence and the involvement of armed radicals have made the situation extremely volatile. Authorities have responded by imposing curfews and deploying additional security personnel to quell the unrest.
As the protests continue to unfold, the government faces mounting pressure to address the concerns of the Meitei community and provide answers regarding the deaths of the two youths. Failure to do so may result in further unrest and instability in the region.
The ongoing protests in the Imphal Valley have morphed into a potent expression of discontent among the Meitei community. While the initial trigger was the alleged killings of two Meitei youths, the protests have evolved into a larger movement that calls for justice, accountability, and political change. The violent confrontations with security forces and the involvement of armed radicals have created a precarious situation, leaving the government with the formidable task of restoring order and addressing the grievances of the Meitei community. The demand for Chief Minister Biren Singh’s removal adds a new dimension to the crisis, raising questions about the future of Manipur’s political landscape.