Imphal, June 10: The Kuki group has once again blocked a section of the Imphal-Dimapur national highway 2 (NH2) in Manipur following a recent outbreak of violence in the state, resulting in three deaths and two injuries.
The Sadar Hills unit of the Committee on Tribal Unity (COTU) reinstated the blockade in the Kangpokpi district on the night of June 9.
Gunmen dressed in military uniform attacked the Kuki-dominated village of Khoken, located on the boundary between Kangpokpi and Imphal West districts, claiming the lives of three individuals, including an elderly woman.
Earlier, on June 4, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had appealed to remove blockades on NH2 to ensure the smooth supply of essentials to the violence-hit state. In response, COTU temporarily lifted the blockade for seven days as a goodwill gesture, starting from June 5. However, fresh violence led to the reinstatement of the blockade.
The Kuki group clarified that only essential commodities and medical supplies would be allowed to ply on the highway, under the escort of central forces, between 10 am and 2 pm.
The ongoing ethnic clashes between Meitei and Kuki groups have resulted in 105 deaths, over 300 injuries, and approximately 40,000 displaced individuals since May 3. The Meitei group constitutes 53% of Manipur’s population, while the Kuki, as tribals, make up around 16% of the state’s population.
Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, also the convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), a BJP-led platform of anti-Congress parties in the region, arrived in Imphal on Saturday to engage in discussions with various stakeholders.
Sarma held talks with his Manipur counterpart, N Biren Singh, to address the current situation in the state. Further details of the meetings have not been disclosed at this time.