Womenfolk trying to march ahead at Torbung Bangla of Bishnupur district defying restriction from security forces

A number of women were injured in baton-charge and heavy shelling of tear gas shells by central security forces at Kangvai area in Bishnupur district of Manipur on August 3.

Many injured persons were admitted at government healthcare centres at Phougakchao Ikhai and Moirang. Some seriously injured women were later shifted to Bishnupur district hospital, reports said.

The women were injured in actions by the central security forces to disperse a massive uprising of the people in protest against a plan to bury dead bodies belonging to Kukis supposedly killed in the ongoing violence that began on May 3 last at Torbung Bangla in Bishnupur district bordering Churachandpur district.

The plan hatched by the Indigenous Tribal Leader Forum (ITLF) received strong objections from the civil society organisations based in the valley districts.

In protest against the plan, a large number of women from various parts of valley districts marched toward the proposed site on August 3 which was already fortified by the central security forces.

The security forces even erected barbed wire across the roads leading to the site as a part of precautionary security measures. Besides the troops of Jat Regiments, Kumaon Regiment, Gurkha Regiment, CRPF and Assam Rifles, a large number of RAF personnel were also deployed in the area.

Despite the presence of the large number of security forces, the womenfolk attempted to march forward to register a strong protest against “converting the Meitei settlement area into a graveyard”.

When the womenfolk refused to retreat despite repeated warning, the security forces took strong measures to halt them. Many women were injured in the melee.

Even as troops of Assam Rifles baton-charged, the womenfolk failed to disperse and remained adamant in their demand to allow them to enter the site where the ITLF allegedly planned to perform the mass burial even as they were informed of stalling the plan.

They also shouted various slogans decrying the conversion of the “Meitei settlement area into a mass graveyard”.

The women demanded that the residents of Torbung Bangla should be allowed to visit their own houses which were torched by the mob in the initial stage of the violence while demanding that those occupying their “ancestral land” should be driven out. They should be allowed to return to their respective houses, they demanded.

While the women were still at Kangvai Bazar, a large number of RAF personnel arrived there and fired tear gas shells and mock bombs to disperse them, around 1pm.

In the event, several more women sustained injuries and rushed to nearby healthcare centres, reports said.

Many organisations based in the valley districts including Co-ordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) objected to the attempt to bury dead bodies of the Kukis at Torbung while claiming the area is Meitei settlement besides being under the jurisdiction of Bishnupur district.

The COCOMI had even warned, and in case the dead bodies were buried there, it is a provocation of further violence in the conflict-torn state.

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