Imphal: At least 33 “terrorists” of militant outfits were killed in a series of encounters with the security forces since the ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said on Sunday.
After holding a meeting with Army chief General Manoj Pande, the Chief Minister said that the security forces launched massive combing operations in many districts against the armed militants, who according to him, are attacking the civilians and their houses in different districts.
Singh said that in retaliatory and defensive operations against these “terrorists”, who are using sophisticated arms against the civilian population, 33 of these “terrorists” have been killed in different areas and a few “terrorists” have also been arrested by the security forces.
According to the Chief Minister, the “terrorists” were using AK-47s, M-16 and sniper rifles attacking both civilians and the security forces.
“Besides the counter insurgency operation in the militant-dominated areas, helicopter surveillance is also going on in the suspected areas.
“Government condemns the attacks on unarmed civilians especially in the peripheral areas of valley districts in the strongest terms,” the Chief Minister told the media.
Meanwhile, the house of BJP MLA K. Raghumani Singh was vandalised and his two vehicles were set on fire at Uripok in Imphal West district on Sunday.
Police said that an angry mob, who are demanding action against the Kuki armed groups and militants, attacked the legislator’s house, and were keen to meet Raghumani Singh seeking stern action against the attackers.
The Chief Minister in his media briefing said that the spurt in violent attacks on civilian houses in the peripheral areas of the valley in the past two days seemed well-planned and simultaneous to show their capacity, is strongly condemnable, especially when Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai is in the state and group peace missions are being formed as part of efforts to bring back peace in the state.
Stating that those trying to break the state and disrupt peaceful coexistence in the state are enemies of all the 34 communities residing together in the state, Singh said adding that the government would continue to face every such challenge.
Noting that this is clearly a challenge to the state and its integrity, he once again appealed to all 34 communities residing together in the state to have faith and trust in the government.
He said that the government would not allow disintegration of Manipur, protect the state’s integrity and uproot these armed terrorists from the state.
“The government would face every challenge against the territorial integrity of the state, attacks on life and property of the people. Forces are well trained and well equipped.”
Recently, 10 MLAs (including seven BJP legislators) belonging to the Kuki tribe have demanded a separate state for the tribals dividing Manipur.
The Chief Minister said that the fight is between armed terrorists trying to force disintegration of Manipur and the state government assisted by the Centre.
He said that following the identification of 38 vulnerable areas, other vulnerable areas have also been identified and that the state police have been conducting operations.
Meanwhile, multiple incidents of gun fights between the security forces and the armed groups reported from at least half a dozen districts in the strife torn Manipur with injuries on both sides on Sunday, officials said.
Police officials in Imphal said that gun battles were reported from many districts including Churachandpur, Kakching, Imphal East and Imphal West districts.
Several Manipur Police commandos and unidentified armed group members were injured in these encounters. The injured police commandos were immediately taken to the hospitals.The identity of the armed groups was not known immediately.