At least five people, including a policeman, were killed and 12 others injured after fresh violence erupted in Manipur yesterday, where ethnic clashes have claimed at least 80 lives.
Fresh violence was reported in several parts of the state after alleged terrorists, carrying sophisticated weapons, set fire to many houses in Serou and Sugunu area.
This comes just ahead of Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the violence-hit state.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh yesterday said that “40 terrorists” have been shot dead over the last couple of days.
“The terrorists have been using M-16 and AK-47 assault rifles and sniper guns against civilians. They came to many villages to burn down homes. We have started taking very strong action against them with the help of the army and other security forces. We have got reports some 40 terrorists have been shot dead,” Mr Singh told reporters.
The Chief Minister said the spurt in violent attacks on civilians on the outskirts of Imphal valley in the past two days seemed well-planned and is strongly condemnable.
Amit Shah has appealed to both the Meiteis and the Kukis to maintain calm and peace, and work for bringing normalcy.
Mr Shah earlier held series of meetings with the representatives of the Meitei and Kuki communities and other stakeholders to review the measures being taken for restoring peace in the state.
Army chief General Manoj Pande also went to Manipur on Saturday to review the law and order situation.
The violence erupted across the state last month, when tribal groups, mainly Kukis, protested against a demand by the Meitei community to be included in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category, which would give them reservation benefits and access to forest lands.
The violence was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.
The government has imposed curfews and internet bans in several areas to prevent further escalation of violence.
Fresh violence has also prompted district authorities to shorten the 11-hour curfew relaxation period in Imphal east and west district to just six and half hours.