A fierce gunfight took place between suspected militants and security forces in Manipur’s Churachandpur district for the past 48 hours during which one woman was injured and at least 10 abandoned houses and one school were burnt.
The shootout that started late Saturday continued till today earning morning, sources said.
Several rounds and locally made bombs were thrown at the security personnel during the attack on Saturday evening, the police said.
Churachandpur has been witnessing massive protest rallies following a disturbing video that captured the public humiliation and abuse of two tribal women amid the state’s ethnic clashes. The video of the two-month-old incident, which surfaced a few days ago, depicted the women being paraded naked and sexually assaulted by a mob, triggering widespread outrage and demands for justice.
The incident, which comes against the backdrop of ongoing ethnic clashes in the region, drew condemnation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In his first comments on the conflict, which has so far claimed at least 150 lives, PM Modi labelled the assault as “shameful” and promised stern action.
The Supreme Court also has expressed its profound disturbance over the incident, with Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud stating, “In a constitutional democracy it is unacceptable.” The court has asked the government to apprise it of the steps taken to apprehend the perpetrators and prevent the recurrence of such incidents.
The turmoil in Manipur, a state of 3.2 million residents bordering Myanmar, began in early May following a court order urging the state government to contemplate extending the economic benefits and quotas enjoyed by the tribal Kuki people to the majority Meitei population. The violence had initially subsided by mid-May, but sporadic conflicts and killings resumed soon after, leaving the state in a state of unrest. The conflict has left hundreds injured and more than 40,000 displaced from their homes.