Asoldier from the Assam Rifles was injured while diffusing an improvised bomb in Saitan village in Manipur’s Bishnupur district Friday morning, about 60 km south of Imphal, officials said.
A defence spokesperson said that the crude bomb was locally fabricated and the soldier who was trying to diffuse it did not suffer major injuries. A day before, a policeman was killed and four others injured when suspected militants opened fire at them near Tera Khongfangbi also in Bishnupur district.
Since then the police and army personnel had launched a combing operation to flush out the militants from the area, officials said.
Violent clashes had broken out in the northeastern state after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
The clashes were preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations and tension between the Meiteis and Kukis.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis — constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.
A total of 128 columns of the Indian Army and Assam Rifles or nearly 10,000 soldiers have been deployed in the affected areas.