Heavy Assam Rifles presence at Manipur's Kamjong border brings life to a halt

AR post at every entry point puts villagers in perpetual fear

ByUkhrul Correspondent

Updated 19 May 2024, 5:05 pm


The mushrooming of Assam Rifles’ check posts at various locations in Manipur’s Kamjong border town and its surrounding peripheral villages has reportedly brought daily life to a grinding halt while the villagers are living in perpetual fear.

A team of journalists visited the border town area and found that the Assam Rifles, which is a paramilitary force, have established posts at every entry and exit point.

This major development is linked with the ongoing conflict and reported gun battles within Myanmar, as per sources. The situation has instilled a sense of fear and uncertainties among the local populace.

On Friday, a team of Ukhrul journalists took a tour to investigate the crisis facing the border town by way of collecting a first hand report.

Following touchdown at Kamjong district headquarters, the visiting journalists encountered a series of Assam Rifles checkpoints. Initially the journalists were permitted entry; however, contrary to the initial welcome gesture, high level of scrutiny and questioning followed.

On reaching Nampisha (Ramphoi) checkpoint, reports of the journalists’ arrival had already reached the AR personnel. After a brief delay, they were permitted to proceed, only to be stopped again a short distance away at the Kangpat Center checkpoint. A truck driver informed the team that the checkpoint had been recently established, causing significant delays and detentions without clear reasons.


At the Oloyo checkpoint, the journalists met with the area’s AR commander. In a friendly conversation, the commander acknowledged the heightened security measures being initiated but he did not divulge a detailed explanation of the issue.

The team also visited other border villages including Namlee, Wanglee, KAKA Trade Centre and Choro- Zingshophai and witnessed the present impact of the AR’s presence in the area.

At Choro-Zingshophai, Athot, the incumbent headman, and the village secretary, Johna Keishing, revealed that their once-thriving village, which is home to around 1,000 households, has fewer than 100 households remaining now. The pressing situation has forced many to flee, making them live in constant fear at a place they called home.

At Namlee, which is the last border village visited by the journalists, its headman Lightson Keishing described the AR’s actions as invasive. The AR reportedly moved through the village daily without notifying local authorities, heightening the sense of insecurity among residents, he said. 

The villagers are particularly disturbed by the AR’s recent efforts to construct unknown types of wire installations within the village, leading to an appeal for stoppage of these activities. The AR’s response, however, was dismissive, even threatening, according to the headman.

Tensions further heightened by the perceived biases in the AR’s actions. The villagers noticed that while the Assam Rifles patrols passed the refugee camps, they seem to favor the Kuki refugees’ camps over others, animating suspicions of ulterior motives. This overt act fueled suspicion and raised concerns about possible clandestine activities.

The AR’s reported restriction of villagers’ free movements, particularly when they attempted to go about their daily activities like farming, has added to the atmosphere of fear, the villagers expressed. The villagers are also facing a severe water shortage due to the increased population from the refugee influx, they mentioned.

The broader conflict in Myanmar, with the alleged involvement of paramilitary regiments and the Kuki National Army (KNA- B) using drones and sophisticated weaponry, has spilled over into the border areas.


According to the headman of Namlee, the local populace is aware of the AR’s covert involvement in these operations, despite their efforts to keep it secret. This knowledge has intensified calls for the government to halt such activities, which are seen as destabilising the already fragile region.

Several community leaders voiced their concerns about the ongoing situation.

Tuithing Tomtak, headman of Wanglee demanded the immediate withdrawal of the AR from their jurisdiction, citing their six-month presence as a source of increasing insecurity. The frequent movement of AR personnel in and out of the village in large vehicles further heightened uneasiness, as their numbers do not always match upon return.

Ramthar, former chairman of Wanglee market highlighted the growing issues with water and firewood shortages as the refugee population swells, urging government intervention before the situation worsens.

Zingshangam Ningshen, secretary Wanglee market, pointed out the suspicious absence of young people in the refugee camps, which are predominantly populated by the womenfolk, elderly, sick, and children. These discrepancies have also raised concerns about the nature of the refugee presence and the security risks they might pose. Ningshen urged to properly secure and manage the camps.  

Meanwhile, Soreingam Hungyo, a village authority at KAKA Trade Centre  underscored the helping hands made by the villagers to assist the refugees despite limited resources.

Emphasising that the ongoing water distress and essential supplies is unsustainable, Hungyo urged the government to take over the onus of managing the refugees’ care to prevent further escalation of hardships.



First published:


kamjongmanipur crisisassam rifles check posts

Ukhrul Correspondent

Ukhrul Correspondent

UKHRUL district, Manipur


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