People in ethnic violence-hit Manipur are now experiencing a double whammy as not only prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed in the state, but banking facilities remain affected due to the suspension of internet services, making life more miserable for them.
In most of the 16 districts, internet services continue to remain suspended for 12 days, rendering financial institutions like banks and ATM booths without money.
The suspension of mobile internet services also badly affected the important government and non-government services since May 3, when Manipur witnessed unprecedented violent clashes, attacks, counter-attacks and arsoning of houses, vehicles and government and private properties in more than 10 districts during and after ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ called by the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur (ATSUM) to oppose the demand for inclusion of the Meitei community in the ST category.
The Transport fuel crisis also put the commuters in trouble. The state government authorities are supplying petrol and diesel to the two-wheeler and vehicle owners in a limited quantity.
The curfew in 11 districts is being relaxed for several hours every day in the daytime allowing the people to procure food and various other essential items.
Officials in Imphal said that sporadic incidents of violence and attacks are taking place in certain districts almost every day.
Few vacant houses were burnt down by the suspected Kuki militants in Churachandpur district on Saturday night. Residents of these houses are now living in relief camps.
Defence sources said that a joint Army and Assam Rifles area domination patrol party was fired upon by a group of unidentified armed miscreants at forest area near Lailampat in Churachandpur district on Saturday.
Two Assam Rifles personnel, who sustained gunshot wounds, were immediately taken to hospitals. When the security personnel retaliated, the armed miscreants fled from the area.
In another incident at Sipijang under Senapati district on Saturday, the area domination patrol team of Assam Rifles were fired upon by a group of unidentified armed miscreants from the jungle.
Following an effective retaliation, the miscreants ran away and two rifles and some ammunition were recovered from the area.
Meanwhile, Manipur government’s security advisor Kuldiep Singh said that during an inspection, some cadres and arms were found missing in some camps, where the Kuki militants under the ‘Suspension of Operation’ agreement have been staying.
Singh said that since May 3, 71 people have died, among which 41 fell prey to the ethnic violence, while others died due to various other causes, including drug overdoses.
He said a total of 339 cases of attack and arsoning have been registered.
After the ethnic violence broke out on May 3, the miscreants and the agitators snatched 1,041 arms and 7,460 pieces of ammunition from the security forces.
So far, 423 arms and 6,697 ammunition have been recovered from them, Singh said.
The central forces including the Army also undertook round-the-clock aerial surveillance using drones and military choppers.
The Army’s three-pronged domination strategy in Manipur is helping the state return to normalcy.
The Army is leaving no stone unturned in monitoring the troubled areas, not only in the hinterland, but also along the India-Myanmar border, a defence spokesman said.