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Tensions Escalate In Manipur Again After Superintendent Of Police Allegedly Abducted

Tuesday saw a further rise in tension in Manipur as it was reported that a second superintendent of police had been kidnapped in the Imphal East area by members of the Meitei group Arambai Tenggol. In a statement, the Manipur Police said that Imphal East Additional Superintendent of Police Amit Singh was eventually saved by police and security personnel acting quickly.

Amit Singh, an officer of the Manipur Police’s operations wing, has been admitted to a hospital, where his status is listed as stable. Armed operatives purportedly affiliated with the Arambai Tenggol stormed the residence on Tuesday night and fired bullets into at least four cars.

According to a news agency that quoted unidentified authorities, the Army was called in as tensions in Manipur increased and four columns of the Assam Rifles were stationed in Imphal East following the kidnapping of a police officer.

The Manipur Police provided details of the incident, which happened on Tuesday night at around seven o’clock. They added that about 200 armed criminals broke into Amit Singh’s home in cars.

“Firing incident at the residence of Addl SP, IW, Moirangthem Amit, MPS On 27th February, 2024. Armed miscreants numbering about 200 coming in vehicles stormed at the residence of the Additional Superintendent of Police, Shri Moirangthem Amit Singh, MPS, s/o Dr. M. Kulla Singh of Wangkhei Tokpam Leikai, under Porompat PS of Imphal East district. The armed miscreants vandalized the household properties at the residence,” the Manipur Police posted on X (formally Twitter).

“On getting information, additional security forces rushed to the spot. In the resulting police action, two individuals namely Rabinash Moirangthem, 24 yrs s/o M. Ranjan of Kwakeithel Akham Leikai and Kangujam Bhimsen, 20 yrs c/o K. Abosana of Khongman Bashikhong sustained injuries on their persons and were admitted to JNIMS Hospital, Porompat. In the midst of the incident, the Addl SP and one of his escorts were abducted by the armed miscreants. They were later rescued from Kwakeithel Konjeng Leikai area and admitted to Raj Medicity for medical treatment. A case has been registered in this regard and investigation has started,” it added.

The news agency described the sources as stating that the officer in question had detained six group members for suspected vehicle theft, which was the reason for the indiscriminate firing.

A group of Meira Paibis, or Meitei women’s group, demonstrated and blocked highways in response to the arrests, calling for their release.

Detailing the incident, M Kulla, the police officer’s father, said, “We tried to talk to the armed men after they entered, but all of a sudden they started firing at the vehicles and properties. So we had to rush inside and lock ourselves.”M Kulla, according to the officials, called his son and informed about the incident.

According to the news agency, the officer and his group were reportedly overwhelmed by Arambai Tenggol cadres as they rushed, and as a result, they were kidnapped.

Within hours, Amit Kumar was safely returned thanks to the swift action of the Manipur Police, who mobilised resources to initiate a successful rescue operation, according to the report.

After the rescue operations, the situation worsened, forcing the Manipur government to enlist the Army’s assistance. The Army exercises operational command over the paramilitary Assam Rifles.

The region has witnessed escalating violence since May 3, 2023, with over 180 casualties reported after a “Tribal Solidarity March” in the hill districts protested the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The tribal population of Manipur, which includes the Nagas and Kukis, makes up 40 per cent of the population and is mainly concentrated in the hill regions. In contrast, the Meiteis, who make up approximately 53 per cent of the total population, live mostly in the Imphal Valley.

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