Manipur attack kills hopes for AFSPA removal

Imphal: In Manipur, after more than 30 years, the Indian army is at the receiving end of forceful militant attacks. In a replay of the Ukhrul attack in the early 1980’s when more than 20 soldiers of the 21 Sikh Regiment were killed, news flashed all over Indian TV screens yesterday, announcing that the army had lost 18 soldiers in a single strike. With this, any hopes of the dreaded Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) being withdrawn from Manipur have died.

 Police said the troopers of the 6 Dogra Regiment, made up mostly of personnel from Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, killed one of the attackers in response.

The Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) and the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) claimed responsibility for the attack that happened some 30km from the India-Burma border in Chandel district.

The defence PRO in Guwahati put the death toll at 18. Eleven soldiers were wounded. “The injured are undergoing treatment at the army hospital at Leimakhong, the army headquarters (12km from Imphal)…. The casualty figure may go up,” an Assam Rifles source told the media. Seven of the injured have been admitted to the army base hospital in Guwahati.

Some 40 militant groups are active within Manipur. Around 30 groups of the Kuki community exist – their demands ranging from safeguarding the community’s interests to creation of a Kuki state within the framework of the Indian Constitution.

More than 25 Kuki groups, after signing agreements with the Centre and Manipur government suspended operations and are now in designated camps since 2008.

Around 10 Meitei groups are also on ceasefire and are housed in designated camps. Security sources fear the situation could turn volatile as discontent festers situation, especially because New Delhi hasn’t even started a political dialogue with the Kuki and Meitei groups for seven eight years now.

In the meanwhile, the ordinary people in Manipur are bracing themselves for more conflict, as the police and army can search, detain, or pick-up anybody anywhere, anytime, because of the sweeping powers granted under AFSPA. Citizens maintain that very often these sweeping powers are grossly misused by the armed forces to violate human rights.

Nothing can be done now. The Centre will probably follow a hard line after yesterday’s massacre. Pray for us, said a friend over the phone from Imphal.

 

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Posted by on June 5, 2015. Filed under Breaking News,Manipur,NORTH EAST. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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