Manipur’s story of unrest: Security forces forced to open fire, killing four people in Churachandpur
On the night of May 5, a military convoy was involved in a deadly confrontation in Lamka, Manipur, resulting in the deaths of three young women and one man. One of the deceased was a nurse. Several others were injured and rushed to the district hospital for treatment. Witnesses report hearing multiple gunshots and ambulance sirens, causing panic in the area.
Kim, a resident of Lamka, told The Borderlens local correspondent, “We heard lots of gunshots and ambulances ringing. We are worried that the injured could succumb to their injuries because the health facilities are not comparable with the advanced infrastructure at Imphal”.
Despite numerous rumours, the exact details of the incident remain unconfirmed.
A group of locals in Lamka had gathered to stop a military convoy that was suspected of transporting Meitei people who had been displaced to Imphal. The Meiteis had been held captive due to the Kukis and Zomis being prohibited from leaving Imphal as well. The locals were concerned that if the Meiteis were transported safely to Manipur, the tribals in Imphal who were seeking shelter in relief camps or hiding in private residences would be subjected to brutal attacks.
A group of young women stepped up to act as a barrier between the angry mob, mainly of young men and the military convoy. The security personnel fired to disperse the crowd gathered at the spot, leading to the deaths and injuries to a few. There were negotiations between the bereaved families and representatives of the armed forces to bring the situation under control.
In a statement released by DGP P Doungel, the RAF, BSF, and CRPF units have been deployed to quell the mob violence and relocate any civilians affected by the unrest. As a result of these efforts, an estimate of 15,000 to 20,000 individuals have been successfully relocated to safe locations. However, there have been accounts suggesting that the evacuation process was disorganized and hastily executed.
According to Jane, who is currently studying in Delhi, her mother and sister were separated during the evacuation from Imphal to Kangpokpi. Her mother reached the destination before her sister, which further intensified their anxiety. Fortunately, Jane’s sister also arrived safely. Jane shared that the journey was perilous, with many individuals sustaining injuries.
“The journey was a treacherous one. People were injured from the glass shards. It’s due to God’s grace that they are safe now”, she added.