BJP Office Area in Manipur Declared Peaceful After Protests, Srinagar SSP Deployed

The violence that has been ongoing between the Meitei and Kuki communities in Manipur since May 3 has not abated. After the discovery of the bodies of two Meitei students who had gone missing in July, violence erupted once again. On Wednesday, violent clashes occurred in several places, including the capital Imphal, between demonstrators and security forces.

A significant number of students were among the demonstrators. In this violence, 50 people have been injured, including a majority from school students. What’s surprising is that the areas where violence broke out have been declared as “peaceful” by the Manipur government, distancing them from the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

On Wednesday, protesters also set fire to the BJP office in Thoubal district, and in Imphal, the residence of BJP President Sharad Devi was attacked, and Chief Minister N. Biren Singh’s effigy was burned. Demonstrators attempted to set fire to the Deputy Collector’s residence in Imphal West district. Two cars parked inside the compound were set on fire.

Police resorted to firing tear gas shells and pellet guns to disperse the crowds in Imphal. The condition of Sing Jamai, a 20-year-old student from Singjamei area of Imphal, is critical due to injuries sustained during clashes.

The police issued a press note on Wednesday stating that the state has been under curfew for the past 24 hours. However, the situation escalated. In relation to incidents related to violence, 1,697 people have been detained. A team led by CBI Special Director Ajay Bhushan Pandey is conducting an investigation into the student killings.

Although a decision to extend AFSPA for another six months was taken in Manipur after this violence, the decision has stirred controversy. Keeping in view the extensive violence that has occurred, it has been declared as “peaceful” by the Manipur government and removed from the purview of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

The transfer of Srinagar’s SSP Rakesh Balwal to Manipur by the central government has also added to the controversy. Balwal is an IPS officer from the 2012 batch. He was appointed as the SSP of Srinagar in late 2021. He has been sent to Manipur amidst the ongoing violence.

As per news agency ANI, the Cabinet Appointments Committee has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs to transfer IPS Rakesh Balwal from AGMUT cadre to Manipur cadre. This transfer had been in the pipeline for some time. Balwal was a member of the team that investigated the 2019 Pulwama terrorist attack, in which 40 CRPF personnel were martyred.

Peaceful Resolution of Ongoing Violence

In a notification issued on September 27th, the government has decided to keep 19 police stations previously governed by AFSPA away from its jurisdiction, effective from October 1st. This exclusion includes areas such as Imphal, Leinfale, City, Singjamei, Sekmai, Lamsang, Patswayi, Wangoo, Porompat, Hangang, Lamlay, Irilbung, Lemakhong, Thoubal, Bishnupur, Nambol, Moirang, Kakching, and Jiribam, among others. Notably, all of these regions are in the hill districts. The rest of the state’s regions have been declared “disturbed areas.”

Extension of AFSPA in Hill Areas for Six Months

AFSPA will remain in effect in the hilly regions of the state. The government has extended it for a period of six months starting from October 1st. Only 19 police stations in these hilly areas have been kept separate. The remaining areas in the state have been declared disturbed.

Security Forces Open Fire on Protesters, Tear Gas Used, and Student Hit by Pellet

Several locations, including the capital city of Imphal, witnessed demonstrations and violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces. Police used tear gas, imitation bombs, and pellet guns to disperse the crowds, resulting in injuries to many students. During the same time, a student was seriously injured when hit by a pellet in the head.

Niyati Rao

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