Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Rana Pratap Kalita said this on November 21 that there have been traditional legacy issues between communities in Manipur, and after the start of the violence, now both communities are completely polarised. Lt Gen Kalita also said that more than 4000 weapons looted from police stations and state armoury are still in the hands of people, so they are being used and sporadic incidents continue. He mentioned that there has to be a political resolution to this conflict.
Lt Gen Kalita, who interacted with journalists in Guwahati Press Club on November 21, said that, “The primary aim of the Indian army initially in Manipur was to carry out rescue and relief operations for the people who have been internally displaced by the violence. “We have been trying to contain the violence, largely we have been successful but because of the polarisation between the Kukis and Meiteis some sporadic incidents do keep on taking place”, he added.
Lt Gen Kalita further said, “On Monday, two people were killed, including IRB personnel. Our effort has been to contain the violence and motivate both sides of the conflict to come for peaceful resolution of the political conflict. Ultimately there has to be political resolution to this conflict.”
Going into further details of the ongoing conflict in Manipur Lt Gen Kalita said, “There is some legacy with three communities which live in Manipur. Earlier also there was conflict between Kukis and Nagas in the 90s and almost 1000 people were killed. What has happened now is both the communities are completely polarised. Even though in recent times the level of violence has come down, there is still a major concern for the security forces who are engaged in containing violence. More than 5000 weapons were taken away from police stations out of which 1500 were recovered, and around 4000 weapons are still with the civilians and till the time these weapons are seized by the security forces sporadic incidents will continue.”
Manipur has witnessed repeated arms loot from the armoury. Miscreants and mob looted several police stations and state armoury in from May to July 2023. The security forces are regularly conducting operations to seize the looted arms and ammunition.
Manipur police have stated that over 180 people were killed and 1,108 others injured, while over 40 others are still missing in the ongoing ethnic strife which started on May 3. The violence started during a solidarity march by Tribal students union against the granting of ST status to the Majority Meitei community. The violence which started in Churachandpur and Bishnupur district spreaded to the entire state in no time. Over 60 thousand people were internally displaced in the ongoing conflict.