Manipur violence: Tight security before Independence Day

Debjit Mukherjee: Security measures have been intensified across the violence-hit Manipur following a call by an umbrella body of major militant groups to boycott the Independence Day celebrations and a shutdown.

Manipur has been witnessing ethnic clashes between Meitei and Kuki communities since May 3 in which nearly 160 people have been killed and over 50,000 displaced.

According to officials familiar with the matter, police and security forces deployed in the state have been instructed to beef up patrolling and checking of vehicles to ensure that the Independence Day celebrations pass smoothly.

Earlier this week, Coordination Committee (CorCom), a conglomerate of Imphal Valley-based militant outfits had called for boycott of Independence Day functions. It also urged people to stay indoors and not to unfurl the tri-colour.

The umbrella organisation also called a 17-and-a-half hour shutdown on that day. It would start from 1am on Tuesday and end at 6.30pm. Essential services including medical emergencies, water supply, fire services, media and social and religious functions have been exempted from purview of the shutdown.

The militant outfits under CorCom include Kangleipak Communist Party, Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup, Peoples’ Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak, Revolutionary Peoples’ Front, Peoples’ Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak-Progressive, Peoples’ Liberation Army and United National Liberation Front. The outfits have been demanding sovereignty for Manipur.