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March 9, 2024

Escalating Tensions: Indian Army Personnel Abducted in Manipur Amid Ethnic Conflict

Amidst the ongoing ethnic conflict in Manipur, tensions escalated further with the abduction of an Indian Army personnel from his residence in Thoubal district. This marks the fourth such incident since the outbreak of the conflict in the northeastern state. The abducted individual, identified as Konsam Kheda Singh, a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) of the Indian Army, was on leave when the incident unfolded at his home in Charangpat Mamang Leikai.

According to officials, the abduction occurred on Friday morning when a group of unidentified individuals forcibly entered Singh’s residence at 9 am, seized him, and fled the scene in a vehicle. While the motive behind the abduction remains unclear, speculations suggest it could be a case of extortion, given that Singh’s family had previously received threats.

In response to the incident, authorities promptly launched a search operation to locate and rescue Singh. The operation includes thorough checks of all vehicles on National Highway 102, while officials intensify efforts to gather more information regarding the abduction.

This abduction adds to a series of violent incidents that have plagued Manipur since the onset of the conflict between the Meitei and Kuki communities last year. Previous targets have included soldiers and law enforcement personnel, underscoring the complex security challenges faced in the region.

In September of the preceding year, a former Assam Regiment soldier, Serto Thangthang Kom, was abducted and subsequently killed by unidentified assailants. In November, tragedy struck again when four family members of a soldier stationed in Jammu and Kashmir were kidnapped and murdered, with only one member managing to escape the abduction.

February witnessed another alarming incident when an Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) from Manipur Police was attacked in his residence in Imphal by the radical Meitei group, Arambai Tenggol (AT). These incidents not only highlight the pervasive threat posed by various armed groups but also the vulnerability of security personnel and their families.

The situation has prompted significant concern and action from the state government. In response to mounting tensions, Chief Minister Biren Singh engaged in discussions with senior police officials to address their grievances. This move followed a show of defiance by Manipur police commandos at the onset of the state assembly session on February 28, reflecting the gravity of the security crisis gripping the region.

The ongoing conflict, which erupted over protests concerning the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, has claimed the lives of over 200 individuals in recent months. As tensions persist and violence continues to disrupt daily life, the urgent need for effective conflict resolution mechanisms and sustained efforts towards restoring peace and stability in Manipur remains paramount.

 

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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