Kuki Rebel Groups Lift Blockade in Manipur, Violence Claims Four Lives
Date: July 3, 2023
Kangpokpi, Manipur - Kuki rebel groups have announced the end of the two-month-long blockade on the national highway in Manipur's Kangpokpi district, which has been a critical issue for the state. However, incidents of violence persist, with four casualties reported on Sunday, including a beheading case.
The blockade of National Highway-2, connecting Imphal with Dimapur in Nagaland, started after violence erupted in Manipur on May 3, severely affecting the supply of essential goods. The blockade was temporarily lifted in early June following Union Home Minister Amit Shah's appeal during his visit, but was reinstated after three members of the Kuki-Zomi community were killed on June 9.
In a statement on Sunday, the United People's Front and the Kuki National Organisation, operating under the 2008 Suspension of Operations agreement, announced the immediate lifting of the blockade to ensure the uninterrupted supply of essential commodities. They cited Shah's concern for restoring peace and harmony and alleviating the people's plight as reasons for their decision.
The groups expressed appreciation for the deployment of central forces in the border areas between the hills and the valley. They pledged to withdraw their volunteers once the deployment of central forces is completed in all vulnerable areas.
The statement also appealed to peace-loving organizations and citizens of Manipur to reciprocate their gesture and work towards peace and communal harmony in the state.
However, violence continues in Manipur. On Sunday, a man named David Thiek was killed and beheaded in Langza village, Churachandpur district. The village came under attack, forcing residents to flee while a few volunteers stayed behind. Police confirmed the beheading.
In Khoijumantabi, Bishnupur district, at the border with Churachandpur, three individuals from the Meitei community were killed in a firing incident.
Chief Minister Biren Singh visited the violence-hit area in Bishnupur on Sunday afternoon.
Since June 29, at least six people have died in incidents of violence at the border of the hills and the valley, bringing the total number of casualties since May 3 to at least 137.