As tension in violence-hit Manipur refuses to calm down, farmers of Moidangpok village in Imphal West have been refraining themselves from going to the fields to carry out agricultural activities due to the fear that there might be unexploded bombs that were fired by the Kukis.
The villagers have been living in fear after the Kukis launched an attack on the Meitei villages of New Keithelmanbi and Moidangpok with guns and bombs on October 4 at around 9 pm.
Speaking to the Imphal Free Press, one Meira paibi Konsam (o) Dhaneshwori Devi of Moidangpok Khunou Awang Leikai narrated the sufferings of the villagers due to the ongoing violence. She said that there are Kukis and 9 sector 33 Battalion Assam Rifles in Keithelmanbi village which is only one and half kilometre away from Moidangpok village.
She said that the Kukis launched an attack on Moidangpok village from the Keithelmanbi village side by dropping bombs at around 9.10 pm after they heard gunshots at around 9 pm on October 4. "The bomb landed at the residence of one Khumbongmayum Manglemjao but the bomb did not explode," she added.
Dhaneshori said that one youth from the village took out the bomb in an open ground, leaving all his fear behind to save the people of the village. A team of Patsoi Police station reached the village at around 1.30 am to inspect the incident but could not take out the bomb as there were no bomb experts in the team, she added.
“Sound of gunshots continued throughout the night and people of the village were in a distressed state that night because of the sounds of the gunshots and the anxiousness of the unexploded bomb in the village. The villagers condemned the police for coming to the scene without a bomb expert on that night,” she said.
She added that bomb experts arrived at the scene at around 3.30 am and disposed of the bomb at a safe place. She urged the authorities concerned and chief minister of the state to look into the sufferings and challenges faced by the villagers of Moidangpok.
Moidangpok village club member Khumbongmayum Romio said that people of Moidangpok village are mostly farmers and daily wage earners but the villagers have been on strict vigil taking turns since the ethnic clash erupted in the state on May 3, 2023.
He questioned how the Kukis launched the attack on October 4 from the Keithelmanbi side, where the Army is stationed. He also urged the government to investigate the incident of October 4, if the bomb was dropped by the Kukis or the central forces.
He also mentioned that farmers found a burnt 81 MM Mortar bomb at the back of Moidangpok Khunjao water supply on Monday at around 11 am. The bomb was safely exploded by a team of bomb experts at around 2.30 pm, he said, adding that the bomb is speculated to be from the attack carried out by the Kukis on October 4.