Manipur: Assailants using security forces’ uniform giving extortion threats

Cairo: Hani Kamal El-Din –

Guwahati: Clad in the uniform of security forces extortion notices is the latest menace in trouble torn Manipur, security forces in Manipur has launched crackdown on militants clad in uniform giving extortion threats and impersonation.

The four-month long violence in Manipur has reignited the militant outfits in Manipur. The businessmen and trader community are bearing the brunt of repeated extortion demands.

While a series of curfews and unrest has hard hit the normal business, extortion demand from militant outfits and its overground organisations adding to the woes of traders and businessmen.

Manipur police on Sunday stated there are reports of extortion threats, misuse of police uniform and impersonation by armed miscreants. In view of this, Manipur Police has been making all out efforts to curb the same.

Police narrated in one such operation, on Saturday Manipur Police arrested five people with sophisticated weapons in camouflage uniforms. They are being proceeded
legally. In response to this arrest, large number of people came out to protest and tried to storm Porompat Police station demanding release of the arrested persons.

Joint security forces repelled this attack by firing tear gas shells. In this melee, nine civilians and an Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel received minor injuries.

Police stated that these five arrested persons were produced before Judicial Magistrate and they have been remanded into further police custody.

Police stated that strict legal action is being taken against these anti-social elements. Manipur Police is determined to carry on such raids/ operations and make all out efforts to bring peace and normalcy in the State. “Simultaneously, Manipur Police appeals to the general public to refrain from such protest and co-operate with the law enforcement agencies in bringing peace and normalcy in the State”.

A trader based in Imphal who does not want to be named told ET, “Manipur has had scores of militant outfits over the years extortion from the militant outfits have drastically come down. The violence which broke out of May 3 has brought back the extortion spree. Almost everyday we get extortion demand from one or the other outfits and overground outfits.”

He added, “We have approached security forces but they are helpless. On a couple of occasions, patrol and security pickets are posted however things are back to the same. We are witnessing a situation when there was an extortion spree in 2007-08.”

Another businessman said, “ Earlier settlers businessmen were targeted for extortion now the situation is businessmen from across different communities are targeted. It is impossible to meet the demands ranging from Rs five to Rs 10 lakhs for different outfits.”

A trader in Thoubal said, “ We have no other option but to relocate. Owing to curfews and violence for several days there is hardly any business activity, and, in this situation, it is almost impossible to comply with the different extortion demands. Cadres approach us with arms in shops and godowns.”

He said, “Even grenades are planted when the extortion is not complied. At times the militants come in the fatigues of security forces. Even the traders outside Manipur are not keen to do business with us as there is huge uncertainty on the law-and-order front.”

Manipur has several Kuki militant outfits and valley-based outfits. Sources in security agencies in the wake of violence valley based outfits such as the United National Liberation Front(UNLF) People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) have become active.

Manipur police has stated that as many as 175 people were killed, 1,108 others injured while 32 are missing in the ongoing ethnic strife which started on May 3. Police stated that 4,786 houses were set on fire and 386 religious structures were destroyed or vandalised of which 254 are churches and 132 temples.

Ethnic violence broke out between the Meitei and Kuki-Zo community broke out in the state on May 3, when a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

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Source of data and images: indiatimes

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