Voices from the last bunker at Manipur's Koutruk

The settlements in Kangchup range are closely situated with frequency of gun attacks exceptionally high making it one of the key spots in terms of security measures.

ByRK Tayalsana

Updated 1 Mar 2024, 1:38 am


The air of worry and fear of impending gun attacks veiled over the foothills of Koutruk village in Imphal West as six-year-old Bindya led the way to "last bunker" located in Koutruk Mathak Leikai, Imphal West.

Bindya's house is situated just beside the bunker which is within the range of bullets. Her house bears marks of swirling bullet hits absorbed during shootouts. The marks reminded us of how devastating the bullets or even a splinter hit could pose to an individual.

The entire Kangchup range has been a tough battlefront since the eruption of the crisis with Koutruk, Kandangband, Kangchup Chingkhong and Senjam Chirang being hotbed for shootouts.

The settlements in Kangchup range are closely situated with frequency of gun attacks exceptionally high making it one of the key spots in terms of security measures.

Koutruk, manipur violence,(PHOTO: IFP)

However, Bindya and her family along with several other residents in the foothills of Kangchup range have been able to stand firm and their properties have remained unscathed, due to the valiant sacrifice and protection of numerous village volunteers who have been guarding the Koutruk area since day one.

However, in a shocking turn of events, several volunteers left their posts at Koutruk Mathak Leikai, Itham, Sangaithel and several other sensitive peripheral areas in the early hours of Thursday morning; the act left many of the areas vulnerable to impending attacks.

Although state forces were deployed along the range following the people's demand, villagers maintained that it was the village volunteers who took the primary brunt of the shootouts.

In Koutruk Mathak Leikai personnel of 2nd, 3rd and 7th Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) are stationed at the last bunker and the base of the leikai.


Speaking to the Imphal Free Press, a villager expressed her fear over the sudden departure of the volunteers from the posts.

"We are clueless why they took such drastic actions. They left their family, their lives to guard the village from invasion," she said.

She stated that it was unfortunate that village volunteers were being cornered over issues which could be resolved through talks.

The authorities could resolve the issue but they have neglected which has, in turn, drowns the morale of the volunteers, she added.

She stated that the villagers were the ones who suffered the most in the situation.

"We are stuck in a tug of war between a rock and a hard object. The issue is not a personal conflict," she reminded.

She stated that the onslaught of invaders would continue and expressed fear they might take advantage of the "issue".

She maintained that the government must realize why youths have set aside their career and come out in battlefronts.

She added that the situation in Manipur was not something to be taken lightly and maintained that "talks" was the only solution to clear the tension.

"The volunteers and personnel stationed at Koutruk had started to build a strong camaraderie and bond which is crucial in such environment," she said.


She stated that the tension could spell disaster for the villagers with no one to look out for them.

Every action, every decision should center around the people and the state, she stated.

Meanwhile, an IRB personnel stationed at Koutruk appealed for the volunteers to clear the air through civilized means and added that in-house tension would only affect the people and the state.

He also added that the move could seriously affect the security measures in security zones.

He stated that such detrimental issues should be tackled and resolved swiftly.

He further reminded that we should not concoct too much and instead focus on the crisis in Manipur.

Thirteen-year-old German, nonchalant in his expression, stated that he was immune to the sound of the gunshots and "did not feel scared anymore".

As the dwindling sun slowly descended over the hill ranges, Bindya and her sisters playfulness seemed to lighten the somber sulky air as if to cloak the bloody violent story the village had witnessed.

Their joyous innocent cheers yearned for a better day, for a more peaceful Manipur.


First published:


manipur crisiskangchup rangeKoutruk village

RK Tayalsana

RK Tayalsana



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