Amid reports of suspected militants under SoO patrolling at the foothills of New Keithelmanbi village in Imphal West, the villagers, belonging to the Meetei community, have reportedly evacuated their respective houses and are taking shelter at a relief camp.
At present, as many as 120 people are taking shelter at a relief camp opened at Wisdom Palace School in Keithelmanbi Moidangpok Khullen, while many have moved to their respective relative houses in safer zones.
Despite New Keithelmanbi having both Kuki and Meetei settlers, there had been no report of any major violence in the area following the outbreak of ethnic violence since May 3.
However, there are reports of some farm huts in the periphery area of the village being burned down and attack on trucks with stones and blank firing by militants during night time, as told to the media by villagers taking shelter at the camp.
As a precautionary measure, the BSF personnel and Manipur police posted at the New Keithelmanbi Outpost have been guarding and keeping a close vigil of the area. Besides, the Meetei youths are also guarding the place round the clock using weapons including some license guns.
The people in the relief camp, while speaking to the media, said that they never felt safe as armed people, suspected to be militants, have been spotted patrolling regularly in the hill range which is just around 1.5 km away from the camp.
Expressing their apprehension, they drew the attention of the government to curb a mechanism to enable them to feel safe and secure.
Meanwhile, a team of Committee on Present Issue of Manipur (a conglomerate of CSOs formed under the aegis of AMUCO) led by its convenor Narendro Thokchom had organised a free medical check-up at the camp and had also distributed free medicines and relief items in collaboration with the CMO, Imphal West.
CSOs such as AMAWOVA, NRC, IFM, YOFFS, MSF, COHR, PLAMPAL, AMMPACO, AMMUC, PSO and MEPWAK are included in the committee.
Speaking to the media, a member of the committee, L Memchoubi, who is also the president of Porei Leimarol, questioned the silence of the central leaders (who used to speak for the development of Northeast) while Manipur is in a critical stage.
"Is the silence their special emphasis towards the Northeast in terms of development?" she questioned.
Alleging that no efforts to restore normalcy from the central government can be witnessed, she added, "the people of Manipur will no longer remain as a silent spectator over the rapid attack by militants".
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