Imphal— In Manipur, police posts and army personnel were attacked amid ongoing violence. During these incidents, a violent mob looted a large quantity of arms and ammunition from them, which are now being used to commit violence and harm people. However, the Manipur Police have also been continuously conducting raids and search operations to recover these looted weapons.
Violence between the Kuki and Meitei communities has been ongoing in Manipur since May 3. It has been 91 days since the violence began, but the situation has yet to return to normal. So far, more than 160 people have lost their lives, and over one thousand people have been injured. According to the police, the mob attacked police posts at Keerenphabi and Thangalavai in Bishnupur, looting a cache of arms and ammunition. The mob also attempted to snatch weapons from a battalion of the Manipur Rifles but was unsuccessful. Subsequently, the police conducted an operation and destroyed seven illegal bunkers in the Kautruk Hill range. However, it has not been disclosed which community these bunkers belonged to.
On August 3 in Manipur, a crowd of 500-600 people gathered at Phougakchao Ikhai on the border between Bishnupur and Churachandpur districts. The Army and Rapid Action Force used tear gas to handle the miscreants in Kangwei and Phugachao of Bishnupur. The crowd consisted of both men and women. During the violence, approximately 4,600 weapons were looted from different police stations in Manipur. However, only around 1,200 of these looted weapons have been recovered so far, with no trace of the remaining 3,400 weapons. It is believed that these looted weapons are in the possession of the Kuki and Meitei communities.
Around 400 lethal weapons were stolen from the headquarters of the India Reserve Battalion 'IRB' 2, located in Narsena, Bishnupur district, Manipur, on the morning of August 3rd. The miscreants also took a large number of weapon magazines. Security forces reportedly fired 327 rounds to control the miscreants. This incident occurred despite the deployment of the Army, Assam Rifles, paramilitary forces, and local police in most parts of Manipur. The stolen weapons included AK Rifles, Lethal Rifles, X Caliber Rifles, INSAS Rifles, 5.56mm INSAS LMGs, MP-5 Carbines, 7.62mm SLRs, SMC Carbines, 7.62mm LMGs, .303 LMGs, Daylight Telescopes for INSAS LMGs, 51mm Mortars, Hand Grenades, AMOGH Carbines, VL Pistols, BP Jackets, Lightweight, and VL Cartridge Illuminating rounds, among others.
Additionally, according to an investigation and information gathered during a ground report by The Mooknayak, violence began in Manipur on May 3, and weapons have been looted from police stations and training centers multiple times since then. It is estimated that around 5,000 deadly weapons have been stolen. On the morning of August 3, around 500 miscreants looted more than 400 lethal weapons from the headquarters of India Reserve Battalion 'IRB' 2 in Narsena, Bishnupur district. The individuals, who arrived in 45 vehicles, also stole approximately 22,000 bullets along with the weapons from the IRB.
This issue was raised by Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi during the discussion on the no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha. He pointed out that over five thousand weapons looted from 35 police stations and training centers are now in the hands of these individuals. He questioned whether this doesn't pose a threat to national security and where these bullets will be directed - towards the police, security forces, or unarmed civilians. He also expressed concerns that these arms and ammunition could potentially spread to different parts of India, causing unrest. He criticized the Prime Minister for not personally visiting Manipur, despite visits by Rahul Gandhi, the Union Home Minister, and the Minister of State for Home.
In the status report filed by the Manipur government in the Supreme Court, it was stated that 197 stolen weapons, 40 bombs, and 2,092 rounds of ammunition have been recovered during the search operations conducted so far. Of these, 121 weapons, 40 bombs, and 2,092 rounds of ammunition were recovered from the valley, while 76 weapons, 30 bombs, and 104 rounds of ammunition were recovered from the hill area. On June 1, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during his visit to Manipur, appealed to the public to return the arms and ammunition looted from the police armory. Just one day after his appeal, approximately 140 weapons were collected.
This information was provided by Kuldeep Singh, Security Advisor to the Government of Manipur and former DG of CRPF. On July 20, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh announced that around 1,600 weapons had been recovered. Earlier, on June 13, a press release from Kuldeep Singh stated that 1,040 weapons had been recovered, along with 230 bombs and 13,601 rounds of ammunition. Subsequently, on June 24, Union Home Minister Amit Shah informed leaders of various political parties in New Delhi that 1,800 looted weapons had been deposited. The status report submitted to the Supreme Court on August 1 confirmed the recovery of 197 weapons.
Police established 129 outposts, and over 1,000 individuals are currently in custody in connection with the violations across various districts of Manipur, according to the police.