Mobile internet services were temporarily banned in Manipur after weeks of unrest in the state led to an attack on a church, series of bomb blasts and attack on police post between Friday and Saturday.
On Saturday, a group of around 70 members from the banned NSCN-IM surrounded a police post in Nungkao in the Tamenglong district, around 160 km from Imphal, from all sides at around 11:30 am.
They stole nine automatic weapons and injured two policemen. A heavy gunbattle had ensued with security forces; however the terrorists being greater in number overpowered the security forces.
Also on Saturday, the biggest and oldest church The Manipur Baptist Convention (MBC) Centre Church was attacked by a Meitei mob allegedly. At least 100 people tried to enter the church and pelted stones at it. Before they could break open the gate police intervened. There was a brief confrontation between the two groups. They allegedly threatened to attack the MBC and the Tangkhul Babtist Church if they hold Sunday services and Christmas celebrations.
Internet services to be banned from tomorrow onwards in Imphal west area. I can't even... pic.twitter.com/EiVVTn7of9— Angellica Aribam (@AngellicAribam) December 17, 2016
So internet services will be banned for Imphal East too.we are still in the loop for now, perhaps because of Sunday? pic.twitter.com/DKPr86Lzj8— Chitra Ahanthem (@ChitraAhanthem) December 18, 2016
The police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse the group. Curfew has been declared in the Chingmeirong area from 6 am to 6 pm on Sunday.
According to Morung Express, those who supported a bandh in Imphal on Saturday had pasted a poster warning people from entering the church without permission of the Chingmeirong locals, an area in East Imphal. The bandh was called to protest against the NSCN-IM and UNC after a series of attacks on police in the state.
The church attack came despite dawn-to-dusk shutdown by civil society groups against the economic blockade by Naga groups. The Naga are protesting against the formation of seven districts in Manipur.
On Friday, three IED explosions took place in Imphal within an hour. The first one was at the residence of a special contractor, Shangreihan Muivah, in the highly congested Fairyland area of Nagaram. Local media said that Muivah was the elder brother of NSCN (IM) supremo Thuingaleng Muivah. Another two IED explosions took place at residences. All three are believed to be Naga leaders.
There have also been incidents of arson and mob attacks against vehicles owned by Nagas in the state. It is reportedly a counter protest against the economic blockade by the United Naga Council (UNC), who demand the release of their president Gaidon Kamei. The UNC condemned the church attack on Sunday.
On Thursday, there were two ambushes at Lokchao and Bungyang area in the newly created Tengnoupal district. There was also an attack on Manipur Police personnel at Noney on Thursday last which left three Manipur Police personnel dead and injuring 14 police personnel.
Tensions rose in Manipur after a blockade by Naga tribal groups has stopped the supply of daily essentials, including medicine. The groups claim that the new districts encroach on ancestral lands of the Naga.