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Manipur: Kukis accuse police of molesting women, assaulting civilians, FIR filed after night-long protest

The Kuki-Zo residents of Moreh town bordering Myanmar and other Manipur villages alleged excessive brutality, viciousness and high-handedness of the police commandos during a police operation following the killing of Manipur Police’s Sub Divisional Police Officer Chingtham Anand.

They accused the Meitei cops of ransacking homes, assaulting civilians during the operation.

The police said they have launched an operation to find and arrest the people behind the killing of police officer and claimed that he was shot dead by suspected Kuki militants in Moreh.

The operation was held by police commandos, Assam Rifles and BSF.

In a statement, all 10 Kuki MLAs, including eight belonging to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said while they condole the officer’s death, they wanted to highlight the “unprofessional conduct and inhumane excesses” of the Manipur Police, particularly the commandos, against Kuki-Zomi-Hmar civilians in Tengnoupal District, especially in Moreh.

The lawmakers accused the commandos of destroying houses, properties and vehicles of the residents of the Sinam Kuki village in Tengnoupal on Wednesday.

“In the operations that are underway at Moreh, the state forces resorted to arson, indiscriminate firing, looting of civilian properties, vehicles, household items, including valuable ornaments/documents/gold/cash and unprovoked brutality forcing common people, including women and children to flee into the nearby jungle,” the statement said.

It added: “Several women have been mercilessly assaulted/molested by the commandos and admitted in the local hospital.”

“The lack of faith that our people have in the state forces stemmed from the innumerable instances of their direct involvement in attacking Kuki-Zomi-Hmar villages during the current conflict,” the MLAs said.

They further said that they have been voicing their concerns at various forums, including the Union government, against the deployment of Manipur commands and called for their removal from Kuki -Zomi-Hmar-dominated districts. They said that despite their appeals, more commandos have been despatched to Moreh that has resulted in fresh disturbances and violence.

“We appeal to the MHA [Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India], to intervene into the matter at once and ensure withdrawal of all the commandos deployed in Moreh and other Kuki-Zomi-Hmar tribal areas and replace them with neutral central forces,” the MLAs said.

Women and children belonging to Kuki-Zo community in Moreh thronged Assam Rifle camps and sought protection from the brutality and viciousness of the police commandos. Large number of women and children including infants and minors spent the freezing nights in front of the Assam Rifles gates at AR IB, ICP, AR Helipad and AR outpost near India-Myanmar border crossing Gate No.1.

Following the outrage, an FIR was filed against the police commandos.

One of the injured women – Tinneichong Kipgen, wife of Seithang Kipgen of Govajang village, had stated that around 4 :30pm of November 1, the police commando team barged into their village and kick-opened the house door while they were having dinner.

“They (the police commandos) shouted and assaulted us verbally and physically. They hit me on my head and body with their hands and radio set. I felt unconscious and felt down. When I touch my head, blood oozing out and I felt dizzy and helpless,” said Tinneichong.

She also said that her 15-year-old daughter Chinneithem was also beaten black and blue by the police commandos. They hit her head and body with their hands and radio-set.

The ethnic violence in Manipur between the majority Meitei and minority Kuki communities enters 7 months on Friday, as hundreds, mostly Kukis, were killed.

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