Army says women activists blocking routes, interfering in ops in Manipur

Imphal: Women activists were deliberately blocking routes and interfering in operations by security forces in violence-hit Manipur, the Army said, urging people to help it in restoring peace in the Northeastern state.

Terming such “unwarranted interference” detrimental to the timely response by security forces, the Army’s Spears Corps shared a video on Twitter late on Monday of some such incidents.

The statement came two days after a stand-off in Imphal East’s Itham village between the Army and a mob led by women that forced the forces to let go of 12 militants holed up there.

“Women activists in #Manipur are deliberately blocking routes and interfering in Operations of Security Forces. Such unwarranted interference is detrimental to the timely response by Security Forces during critical situations to save lives and property.

“Indian Army appeals to all sections of population to support our endeavours in restoring peace. Help us to Help Manipur,” it tweeted.

The stand-off in Itham went on throughout Saturday, and ended after a “mature decision” by the operational commander keeping in view the sensitivity of use of force against large irate mob led by women and likely casualties due to such action, officials said.

Twelve members of the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), a Meitei militant group, involved in a number of attacks, including the ambush of a 6 Dogra unit in 2015, were holed up in the village, they said.

The security personnel left with seized arms and ammunition.

More than 100 people have lost their lives in the ethnic violence between Meitei and Kuki communities in the northeastern state so far.

Clashes first broke out on May 3 after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

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.