ISLAMABAD: The Indian state of Manipur is gripped by escalating violence and ethnic clashes, with recent developments highlighting tensions between India and Myanmar over cross-border activities and internal unrest within Manipur itself.
Over the past three weeks, Manipur has been plagued by ongoing violence, resulting in a significant death toll of 258 people. The conflict has primarily stemmed from clashes between ethnic groups, notably the Meiteis and the local Pangal Tribe, as well as anti-Indian Army sentiments prevailing among the general public with respect to the deteriorating situation in Manipur. Recent developments indicate tension between India and Myanmar due to cross-border operations by the Peoples Defence Force (PDF) from the Indian side.
Recent developments indicate a multifaceted crisis unfolding in Manipur. Myanmar’s military has lodged a protest note with Indian security forces, alleging the usage of Indian territory by the People’s Defence Force (PDF) for cross-border operations. However, Indian security forces have denied the allegations and have instructed troops to monitor PDF activities closely.
The situation has been further exacerbated by incidents of air space violations, including a helicopter belonging to the Myanmar Army breaching Indian territory in the Kakching area. Additionally, threats of drone attacks by Freedom Fighters, former members of the People’s Liberation Army of Manipur (PLAM), have heightened tensions during important national events such as Christmas Day and Indian Republic Day.
Indian Army Expresses Serious Concern Over Volatile Situation in Manipur
Internal security concerns have prompted Indian Army senior leadership to express serious concern over the volatile situation in Manipur. Protests led by Meira Paibis, numbering between 300-400 people, have underscored widespread anti-Indian Army sentiments in the region.
Violent clashes have erupted between various factions, including an ambush on Manipur Police Commando barracks by Freedom Fighters, resulting in injuries to four Commandos. Ethnic tensions have also flared, with reports of Arambai Tenggol, a Meitei group, allegedly killing five Pangals (Muslims) in the Thoubal district, leading to violent retaliation and mob unrest.
Meanwhile, violence erupted in the Moreh area, where locals threatened to attack Police troops and demanded Indian security forces to vacate the post. Kukis attacked Police Commandos in Moreh; police manhandled Kukis and burnt their houses. Further complicating the situation, rumors of attacks on Kukis by Security Forces and subsequent reports of security forces resorting to target killing of Kukis have fueled additional unrest.
Amidst the turmoil, a soldier’s suicide in the Serou area and the disappearance of a patrolling party along the Indo-Myanmar border have added to the growing concerns surrounding security in Manipur.
The escalating violence and ethnic clashes in Manipur represent a significant challenge for Indian authorities as they grapple with internal strife and external tensions along the border with Myanmar.