40 shot dead by Manipur Police in eight hours, CM Biren Singh calls them “terrorists”

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh told reporters they have got reports that “40 terrorists” have been shot dead by commandos of the Manipur Police on Sunday.

“The terrorists have been using M-16 and AK-47 assault rifles and sniper guns against civilians. They came to many villages to burn down homes. We have started taking very strong action against them with the help of the army and other security forces. We have got reports some 40 terrorists have been shot dead,” Singh told reporters today.

The clashes broke out in the early hours of the morning at several places in different districts surrounding the Imphal Valley.

“The terrorists have been shooting at unarmed civilians,” Singh said.

“I won’t call them Kuki militants. They are Kuki terrorists. They have been shooting at unarmed civilians,” he continued.

The house of BJP MLA Khwairakpam Raghumani Singh at Uripok in Imphal West was vandalised and his two vehicles were set on fire, a top security official told news agency PTI.

Ethnic clashes have claimed over 85 lives in Manipur so far. There is heavy army and paramilitary presence in the state, particularly in areas seen as sensitive.

The tensions arose out of the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status, which the Gauhati high court supported. Hill tribes in Manipur feel it would be unfair to grant the majority Meitei community ST status, and would impinge on their right to jobs and education.