Manipur news: Women-led protesters thwart Army’s attempt to seize arms, ammunition; ‘snatch 11 miscreants’, say police

Women-led protestors in Manipur blocked the Army convoy to demand seized weapons. Despite firing in the air, the Army couldn't disperse the crowd. An agreement was later made for the Army to hand over the arms to the police, restoring normalcy

Livemint
First Published1 May 2024
MAnipur news: Officials reported that hundreds of women blocked the road, preventing the Army convoy from leaving the area. Despite the Army firing in the air to disperse the crowd, it had no effect.
MAnipur news: Officials reported that hundreds of women blocked the road, preventing the Army convoy from leaving the area. Despite the Army firing in the air to disperse the crowd, it had no effect.

The Army's attempt to take away seized arms and ammunition in Manipur's Bishnupur district on Tuesday was thwarted by women-led protestors, according to officials, as reported by PTI. The incident occurred during patrolling in the Kumbi area in the early hours, where personnel of the Army's 2 Mahar regiment intercepted two SUVs.

"Upon seeing the Army personnel, the occupants of the two vehicles fled, leaving behind their arms," an official stated, PTI reported.

Shortly after, 'Meira Paibis' – a civilian group of Meitei women – gathered at the spot and demanded that the weapons be handed over to them. They also insisted that no weapons be confiscated until the conflict, which began in May last year, is resolved, the official added.

Officials reported that hundreds of women blocked the road, preventing the Army convoy from leaving the area. Despite the Army firing in the air to disperse the crowd, it had no effect.

Upon learning of the incident, state police forces rushed to the area, and an agreement was reached for the Army to hand over the arms to the police later.

"Confiscating weapons from village volunteers guarding a fringe area like Kumbi leaves us exposed to possible attacks by armed militants from adjacent hill areas of Churachandpur district," PTI quoted Jaya Khagenbam, a leader of the protestors.

"Security forces should remember that their inability to protect villages located at the periphery of the Valley led to the emergence of the village volunteers," she added.

Officials confirmed that the situation is now normal, and the Army personnel have withdrawn from the spot.

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The Manipur Police reported that soldiers from the Mahar Regiment seized three AK rifles (along with seven magazines and 210 rounds of ammunition), five INSAS rifles (with 13 magazines and 260 rounds of ammunition), two SLR rifles (with nine magazines and 180 rounds of ammunition), two hand grenades, bulletproof jackets, and other items from the possession of the miscreants and took them into custody.

Also Read | India slams US report on ‘rights issue’ in Manipur, BBC raids: ‘Deeply biased, reflects very poor understanding’

“A group of womenfolk started gathering and blocked the road to prevent the movement of security forces. On being informed by the Army about the developing situation, District Police rushed to the spot. On reaching, it was informed by the army personnel that the 11 persons had been snatched by the womenfolk during an aggressive confrontation with them despite their best efforts,” the Manipur Police posted on X.

 

“Displaying dogged determination and intent, teams of both Manipur Police and the Indian Army successfully broke through several obstacles/ barriers created by hostile sympathizers and reached out tothe teams at Kumbi PS. The recovered weapons and ammunition were kept in safe custody. The mob was later dispersed, and the situation was brought under control. Necessary legal action is being taken up,” it added.

-With agency inputs

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