Firing between security forces and armed men has been reported from Pallel area of Manipur’s Tengnoupal district since early hours of Friday, officials said. According to officials, firing started around 6 am and has been continuing intermittently. There are no reports of injuries or casualties as of now, they said. Security forces are monitoring the situation.

This comes two days after thousands of protesters gathered at Phougakchao Ikhai in Bishnupur district on Wednesday and tried to break through army barricades in an attempt to reach their deserted houses in Torbung.

Tension was palpable in the area, with security forces comprising personnel of RAF, the Assam Rifles and Manipur Police firing tear gas shells to bring the situation under control, officials said.

A day before the protest, full curfew had been clamped in all the five valley districts of Manipur as a preventive measure.

More than 160 people have been killed and several hundreds injured since ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3, when a “Tribal Solidarity March” was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal valley, while tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, constitute 40 per cent and reside mostly in the hill district.