Manipur Unrest: Army Officer Injured in Pallel Clash with Armed Individuals, Resulting in Two Civilian Fatalities

Manipur Unrest: Army Officer Injured in Pallel Clash with Armed Individuals, Resulting in Two Civilian Fatalities

Imphal - In the wee hours of Friday morning, a violent confrontation erupted in Pallel town, located in Manipur's Tengnoupal district, between security forces and individuals described as "armed miscreants," according to official and defense sources.

The incident unfolded around 7 a.m. when the armed individuals arrived in vehicles and opened fire on security forces stationed in the vicinity. This encounter occurred only a short distance from the Pallel police station, as reported by local sources.

Despite the presence of both state and central security forces, including the Manipur Police, Assam Rifles, and Border Security Force in the area, the gunfire persisted. After a temporary cessation, the exchange of fire resumed in the afternoon near Malnoi village, close to Pallel, according to a security official.

This marks the first instance of shooting in the Tengnoupal region since the onset of an ethnic conflict in Manipur four months ago. Malnoi, situated in Pallel town, has a predominantly Kuki population and encompasses a diverse mix of Kuki, Meitei, and Naga communities.

As word of the gunfire spread, a large crowd assembled at the scene, and Meira Paibis, a group of Meitei women protesters, blocked the road leading to Pallel, according to local reports.

An Assam Rifles soldier sustained "minor injuries" due to "unprovoked firing" in Pallel, as disclosed by a source within the defense establishment.

Despite repeated warnings to the growing crowd, the confrontation escalated, prompting security personnel to employ tear gas and baton charges. This resulted in injuries to Meira Paibis and other participants.

A local resident informed ThePrint that over 40 individuals, both men and women, sustained injuries, with some of them being "seriously" affected. Injured individuals were transported to a community hall for medical attention, while others were admitted to nearby hospitals in Kakching and Imphal, according to the resident.

Ambulances were deployed along the Pallel-Tengnoupal road to attend to the injured.

Another local source mentioned that certain individuals set fire to Kuraopokpi village near Pallel, and incidents of arson occurred in Malnoi.

The situation remains tense in Pallel and its adjoining areas, prompting the mobilization of additional security forces, with ongoing monitoring by defense sources.

This recent surge in violence follows clashes between protesters and security forces in Phougakchao Ikhai, Bishnupur district, just two days ago when protesters attempted to reach Torbung.

Local residents express their concerns that despite various measures taken by the Manipur government, including appointing a highly decorated Army Special Forces veteran to the newly created position of Senior Superintendent of Police (Combat), there has been no observable improvement in the situation. In August, gunfights in the border regions between Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts resulted in eight fatalities and 29 injuries.

Civil society groups representing Meitei and Kuki communities have conveyed a message to Chief Minister Biren Singh, emphasizing the government's capacity to resolve the crisis if it so desires

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