Army, Assam Rifles deployed in Manipur after brief abduction of senior cop

Assam Rifles and Manipur Police personnel with seized arms and ammunition at Sabungkhok Khunao Chanung ridge, in Imphal East district, Monday, Feb. 26, 2024. Photo: PTI

Imphal: Escalating tensions prompted the Army's intervention in Manipur on Tuesday, with four columns of the Assam Rifles dispatched to Imphal East. This response came after the abduction of Additional Superintendent of Police Amit Kumar by Arambai Tenggol cadres from his residence. Swift action by police and security forces however, resulted in Kumar's rescue, according to officials. The officer has been admitted to a hospital where his condition is stated to be stable.

Giving details of the incident that took place around 7 pm on Tuesday, the officials said that a group of cadres owing allegiance to the Arambai Tenggol attacked the house of Kumar at Wangkhei in Imphal East. The reason for this indiscriminate firing was that the officer concerned had arrested six members of the group for their alleged involvement in vehicle theft, the officials said.

Following the arrests, a group of Meira Paibis (Meitei women group) had protested and blocked roads demanding their release. In the Tuesday evening attack, armed cadres allegedly belonging to the Arambai Tenggol ransacked the house and damaged at least four vehicles with gunfire, they said.

Detailing the chaotic events, M Kulla, the police officer's father, explained, "We tried to talk to the armed men after they entered, but all of a sudden they started firing at the vehicles and properties. So we had to rush inside and lock ourselves."

The father, according to the officials, called his son and informed about the incident. The officer rushed with his team only to be abducted as they were outnumbered by the cadres allegedly belonging to the Arambai Tenggol.

The Manipur Police acted promptly, mobilising forces to launch a successful rescue operation, ensuring Kumar's safe return within hours.

The state government had to take help of the Army as the situation worded after the rescue efforts.

Officials said that four columns of the Assam Rifles were requisitioned and deployed around the area where the incident took place. The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is not applicable in valley areas.

The Assam Rifles, a paramilitary force, functions under the operational command of the Army.

The region has witnessed escalating violence since May 3, with over 180 casualties reported after a "Tribal Solidarity March" in the hill districts protested the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The Meiteis, constituting around 53 per cent of Manipur's population and residing predominantly in the Imphal Valley, contrast the tribals, including Nagas and Kukis, who make up 40 per cent and primarily inhabit the hill districts.

(With PTI inputs.)

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