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Suspected Insurgents Fire At Armoured Vehicle In Manipur's Jiribam, Hours Before Rahul Gandhi's Visit

An armoured vehicle that came under suspected insurgents’ fire in Manipur’s Jiribam

Jiribam/New Delhi:

Suspected insurgents fired at an armoured vehicle of the security forces in Manipur’s Jiribam this morning, hours before Congress MP Rahul Gandhi arrived in the district bordering Assam to meet internally displaced people living in relief camps.

Two suspected insurgents have been arrested, the police said, adding they are being interrogated. Visuals of the area following the attack show several bullet holes on the armoured vehicle, and soldiers taking away the two suspected insurgents, hands behind their back.

On Sunday night, suspected insurgents also tried to burn a house in Jiribam, the police said. The fire was doused and the situation was taken under control immediately, they said.

Mr Gandhi met internally displaced people being sheltered at a school in Jiribam. The Congress in a post on X said “he offered support in their darkest hour”, and his third visit to ethnic violence-hit Manipur “shows his unwavering commitment to the people’s cause.”

Later, he flew to the state capital Imphal, from where he went to Moirang in Bishnupur district and Churachandpur district to meet more people living in relief camps.

He will meet Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey later this evening, and hold a press conference at the Congress office in Imphal.

The Congress had started its Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra and the Lok Sabha election campaign from Manipur. Manipur’s only two Lok Sabha seats also went to the Congress – Angomcha Bimol Akoijam from Inner Manipur, and Alfred Kan-Ngam Arthur from Outer Manipur (Scheduled Tribes) reserved seats.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Rajya Sabha last week that the Centre has been working hard to bring peace in Manipur, and criticised the Opposition over attempts to politicise the complex issue. “The government is continuously making efforts to normalise the situation in Manipur. More than 11,000 FIRs (first information reports) have been filed and over 500 people have been arrested. Incidents of violence are continuously reducing in Manipur,” PM Modi had said.

The ethnic violence that began in May 2023 between the valley-dominant Meitei community and nearly two dozen tribes known as Kukis – a term given by the British in colonial times – who are dominant in some hill areas of Manipur, has killed over 220 people and internally displaced nearly 50,000.

The general category Meiteis want to be included under the Scheduled Tribes category, while the nearly two dozen tribes that share ethnic ties with people in neighbouring Myanmar’s Chin State and Mizoram want a separate administrative carved out of Manipur, citing discrimination and unequal share of resources and power with the Meiteis.