At least two protesters were killed and 10 others injured by Manipur State Commandos and Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) during a mass peace rally at Ukhrul district headquarters on Saturday.
The two deceased, identified as Ramkashing Vashi (26), and Mayopam Ramror (31) were killed by Manipur state armed forces, who opened fire and tear gas indiscriminately at the crowd protesting the imposition of Section 144 of the CrPC (Code Of Criminal Procedure) at Ukhrul district headquarters for over a month now.
Among the 10 civilians injured, six of them, including a woman identified as Ramchanngam Horam, Ningkhan Luikham, Khanreingam LK, Ngachonmi Mrunao, Shangkahao Keishing and Ningshim L.S were severely injured. Our source also said that two state armed personnel were injured in the incident.
Thousands of people took part in the protest rally organized by the United Naga Council (UNC), the apex body of the Nagas inhabiting in Manipur, in all Naga-inhabited district headquarters on Saturday, demanding withdrawal of state armed forces at Ukhrul.
The sources also added that the situation at Ukhrul district headquarters is tensed after the killing of civilians. There were also rumours that the state government has ordered for re-enforcement following the incident.
The state government imposed Section 144 of CrPC at Ukhrul district headquarters after the killing of Ukhrul Autonomous District Council (ADC) vice chairman Ngalangzar Malue (60), by the militant outfit on 12 July.
No militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the killing of the ADC member till date, but the state government has blamed the NSCN (I-M) for the act.
The state government hasn't repealed Section 144 of CrPC in the district headquarters, despite several protest rallies, including outside the Manipur Bhawan in Delhi demanding the withdrawal of state Commandos and IRB.
The presence of hundreds of armed forces has not only created fear psychosis among the public, but also hindered daily works of the people in the area.
The UNC had said in a statement ahead of the mass protest that the government of Manipur has breached the Indo-Naga ceasefire agreement by deploying armed forces in Nagas-inhabited areas, particularly at Ukhrul district.
The apex body of the Nagas in Manipur added that a memorandum would be sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the protest rally, apraising him of the war-like situation in Ukhrul district which is an utter disrespect of the Indo-Naga ceasefire, and how the state government is trying to disrupt the democratic process of tripartite talk on alternative arrangement for Nagas besides framing policies to encroach upon ancestral land of the tribals through laws and Acts. It also demanded for early settlement of the Indo-Naga issue.
(Image Credit: Protest Against SEC 144 Crpc Promulgation in Ukhrul)