6 killed in daylong mortar & gun attacks in Manipur


GUWAHATI: Six people were killed and 16 wounded by gun and mortar fire on Saturday in one of the worst attacks and counterattacks between two groups in the growing ethnic strife in Manipur.

Among the deadliest attacks yet, and the trigger for the day-long mortar and grenade attacks that followed, was the pre-dawn killing of three people — including a father and son — inside their homes in Kwakta area of Bishnupur district.

Security sources suspect the fresh wave of attacks was carried out with the huge cache of automatic and semi-automatic weapons and mortars looted from the armoury of the 2nd India Reserve Battalion HQ at Naranseina, in Bishnupur district, on Thursday. Sources pointed out that grenades and the GF rifles required to lob them over longer distances are suspected to have been extensively used during the shelling, along with looted HE mortar bombs.All these weapons were looted from the armoury.

Yumnam Pishak Meitei (67), his son Yumnam Premkumar Meitei (39), and a neighbour, Yumnam Jiten Meitei (46), were living in relief camps but had returned on Friday to guard their village, abandoned after villagers fled to camps when violence first erupted on May 3. Security sources said that two of the men were also struck with sharp weapons on different parts of their bodies before they were shot at close range.

As the news broke and tension escalated in the Kwakta area by daybreak, a large group of women took to the streets in Uripok to protest; they burnt effigies of PM Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah and demanded an immediate halt to the escalating violence.
Hours later, retaliatory attacks were launched. Men opened fire with guns, mortar shells and grenades in Kwakta’s two neighbouring villages, Phoujang and Songdo, which fall in Churachandpur district, killing two people and severely injuring 13 others. The deceased have been identified as Johny (30) and Jangkhomang (34).