The situation in the ethnic violence-hit Manipur improved further on Wednesday with the authorities relaxing curfew in 11 districts, including Imphal West and Churachandpur, for six hours in the morning even as the Army and central paramilitary forces continued their vigil in the sensitive areas.
Mobile internet service will continue to remain suspended in the state till May 13. Defence sources said that armed miscreants on Wednesday fired upon the Army and Assam Rifles at Dolaithabi in Imphal East district when the security personnel were on an area domination patrolling.
“After firing a few rounds, the miscreants ran away. An Assam Rifles jawan who sustained gunshot injury in the firing has been safely evacuated to the military hospital by an Army helicopter,” the sources said.
In all, 128 columns of the Army and Assam Rifles continued flag marches in the tension-ridden and violence-hit areas in different districts. The forces also undertook round-the-clock aerial surveillance using drones and Army choppers.
A defence release said on Wednesday that the Indian Army’s three-pronged domination strategy in Manipur is helping the state return to normalcy.
“The Army and Assam Rifles have significantly re-engineered the security architecture, while numerous resources have also been infused to improve the situation. People are now returning to their homes,” the release said.
It added that the Army is leaving no stone unturned in monitoring the troubled areas, not only in the hinterland, but also along the India-Myanmar border.
Round-the-clock surveillance using drones, employment of MI17 and Cheetah helicopters of the Air Force and the Army, and numerous foot patrols and flag marches are being carried out to restore confidence of the locals on the ground.
As Manipur limps back to nromalcy, inimical elements may once again attempt to spread malicious unverified content, the defence release said.
Stating that the Army and Assam Rifles are committed to restoring complete normalcy at the earliest, it requested the people of the state to disregard any malicious attempt to disturb harmony in the region through manipulated interpretation and misrepresentation of facts.
Violent clashes, firing and arson broke out across Manipur during a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ on May 3 called by the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur (ATSUM) to oppose the demand for the inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe category.
The ATSUM had called the rally in 10 hill districts, inhabited by the tribals, to oppose the recent Manipur High Court order, which asked the state government to send a recommendation to the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry regarding the demand to include the majority and predominantly Hindu Meitei community in the ST list.
Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh had said on Monday that at least 60 people, including women, have been killed and 231 others have been injured while 1,700 houses have been burnt in the ethnic violence in Manipur since May 3.