Militants seen moving around openly and instigating mobs in Imphal valley cause of concern for security agencies
The worst fears for security agencies seem to have come true as militants have been seen moving around openly and instigating mobs in Imphal valley which have been on a rampaging spree after pictures of two missing teenagers surfaced on social media.
According to officials, during attacks carried out on a police party Wednesday evening, armed men dressed in black uniform were seen giving directions to the agitated youths to attack the police and many vehicles were then torched.
The security agencies have been warning that militants belonging to United National Liberation Front (UNLF), People's Liberation Army (PLA) and other banned groups had become part of the mobs and carrying out sneak attacks on security forces as well as giving directions to the agitators.
Recently, the presence of insurgents was found within a mob that carried out an attack on security forces injuring a Lt Col of army near Pallel in Tengnoupal.
As reported by PTI on September 11, central security agencies had warned about the possibility of militants mingling with crowds during any protest to stoke tensions in restive Manipur.
The burning down of a police vehicle saw the presence of armed militants directing the crowd. Besides this, miscreants in the crowd used iron pieces which were fired towards security personnel with the help of automated slingshots.
Over a dozen police personnel including an officer of the rank of additional Superintendent of Police have been injured in these clashes that erupted in Imphal valley after surfacing of pictures of missing teenagers, who are suspected to have been killed during the ethnic clashes.
The officials reiterated that the current unrest has seen resurgence of near dormant banned groups like UNLF, PLA, Kanglei Yawol Kanba Lup (KYKL), Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) and People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) in the state.
The officials have also warned that the recent release of four youths, who were possessing deadly weapons looted from police armoury, was a dangerous sign and efforts should be intensified to nab and book them under relevant sections of law.
They said at present, UNLF has a cadre strength of 330 followed by PLA with 300 and KYKL with 25 who are active within the groups of the majority community.
On June 24, Army and Assam Rifles, based on specific intelligence, nabbed 12 members of KYKL in East Imphal including self-styled 'lt colonel' Moirangthem Tamba alias Uttam.
Uttam was one of the masterminds of the ambush on 6 Dogra regiment in 2015 that left 18 army soldiers dead.
The officials said there was every likelihood that the arms and ammunition looted from the Manipur police armoury could have landed with these terror groups.
Among the arms looted included .303 rifles, Medium Machine Guns (MMG) and AK assault rifles, carbines, Insas Light Machine Guns (LMG), Insas rifles, M-16 and MP5 rifles.
The officials said around 4,537 arms and 6.32 lakh bullets were missing mainly from Manipur Police Training Centre (MTPC) at Pangei in East Imphal, 7th India Reserve battalion and 8th Manipur Rifles, both located at Khabeisoi in Imphal city.
According to them, out of the stolen weapons, 2,900 fell in the lethal category whereas others comprised teargas and mini flare guns.
Repeated calls by politicians have yielded no results as none of the looted weapons have been deposited back except for those returned in the last week of July.
There has been no forward movement on disposal of dead bodies and opening of supply routes from Imphal to hill areas.
More than 180 people have been killed and several hundred injured since ethnic violence broke out in Manipur on May 3, when a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe status.
A fresh bout of violence, this time led by students, broke out in the state capital on Tuesday after photos of the bodies of two youths who went missing in July went viral on social media.
Violent protests continued till the early hours of Thursday with a mob vandalising the deputy commissioner's office in Imphal West and torching two four-wheelers, officials said.
On Wednesday night, the protesters clashed with security personnel in Uripok, Yaiskul, Sagolband and Tera areas, prompting the forces to fire several rounds of tear gas shells to control the situation, they said.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)