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The Army was stopped from taking away the arms and ammunition they seized in Manipur’s Bishnupur district on Tuesday by women-led protestors, officials said.

During patrolling in the Kumbi area in the early hours, personnel of the Army’s 2 Mahar regiment intercepted two SUVs, they said. “On seeing the Army personnel, the occupants of the two vehicles fled, leaving behind their arms,” an official said.

A while later, ‘Meira Paibis’ — civilian group of Meitei women — gathered at the spot, and demanded that the weapons be handed over to them, he said.

They also demanded that no weapons be confiscated till the conflict, which broke out in May last year, is over, he added.

Hundreds of women blocked the road and prevented the Army convoy from leaving the area, officials said.

To disperse the mob, the Army fired in the air but that too bore no result, they said.

Upon getting to know about the incident, state police forces rushed to the area. It was then agreed that the Army would later hand the arms to the police, they said.

“Confiscating weapons from village volunteers guarding a fringe area like Kumbi leaves us exposed to possible attacks by armed militants from adjacent hill areas of Churachandpur district,” said Jaya Khagenbam, a leader of the protestors.

“Security forces should remember that their inability to protect villages located at the periphery of the Valley led to the emergence of the village volunteers,” she said.

The situation is now normal, and the Army personnel have withdrawn from the spot, officials said.