Churachandpur (Manipur), October 3: An effigy with ‘Justice’ written on it was hung from a gate commemorating the ‘Anglo-Kuki war’ over a century ago to protest against alleged ill-treatment of the community members by the state government and arrest of tribal youths.
This came after posters against Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh were put up in tribal-majority Churachandpur district.
The effigy was placed with a noose on it by members of the Churachandpur-based Joint Student Body (JSB) from the top portion of the gate erected on the occasion of the centenary of the ‘Anglo-Kuki war’ fought between 1917 and 1919.
“We have done this to portray the sufferings of the tribals who have been killed, raped and paraded naked while their houses were torched,” a protester said while standing near the gate at Leisang Village on Teddim road.
Posters bearing the chief minister’ photo and showing him as an accused in “crimes against humanity” also came up in the district from where seven people were arrested in the past few days by central agencies CBI and NIA in connection with the killing of two youths and another case.
The protesters also put up posters wondering whether CBI and NIA meant ‘Central Bureau of Imphal’ and ‘National Imphal Agency’ respectively, indicating that the agencies are following the orders of the state government, instead of being neutral.
Imphal is the capital of Manipur which has been rocked by ethnic strife for the past five months.
News of the killing of two youths – 20-year-old male Phijam Hemanjit and Hijam Linthoingambi, a 17-year-old girl – who had gone missing on July 6 caused a massive outcry and violent demonstration in Imphal Valley after photos of their bodies surfaced on September 25.
Four people were arrested by CBI from Churachandpur on Sunday in connection with the kidnapping and killing. They have since been taken to Guwahati. Two minor daughters of the main accused were handed over to the district child protection officer of Assam’s Kamrup Metro district.
The NIA on Saturday also arrested one person from Churachandpur in connection with a case of “transnational conspiracy” by Myanmar and Bangladesh-based leadership of terror outfits to wage war against India by exploiting the current ethnic strife in Manipur.
More than 180 people lost their lives and several hundreds were injured since the ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur on May 3, after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status.
Meiteis account for about 53% of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis — constitute little over 40% and reside in the hill districts. (PTI)