Rallies across Imphal echo with ‘Go Back AR’ chant

Protesting women stormed the Assam Rifles camp at Chingamathak and residents of MAHUD Minister Yumnam Khemchand, BJP president A Sarda, speaker of the state assembly Thokchom Satyabarta and Rajya Sabha MP Sanajaoba Leishemba.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 8 Aug 2023, 5:11 pm

(Photo: IFP)
(Photo: IFP)

Women across Manipur's valley districts took to the streets on Monday to democratically protest against the alleged atrocities committed by the Assam Rifles towards Meitei women in the region.

The protests were triggered by an August 3-incident in Bishnupur district where the AR faced accusations of violence against women during a demonstration held against a controversial proposed burial site at Torbung.

During the August 3 protests, at least 25 women sustained injuries, leading to a widespread demand for the complete withdrawal of Assam Rifles from the state of Manipur.

One of the highlights on Monday was a protest rally taken out by women protesters of Brahmapur-Bamon Leikai area in which the women stormed the Assam Rifles camp at Chingamathak and residents of MAHUD Minister Yumnam Khemchand, BJP president A Sarda, speaker of the state assembly Thokchom Satyabarta and Rajya Sabha MP Sanajaoba Leishemba.

During the rally, the protesters shouted various slogans demanding the complete removal of Assam Rifles and other central paramilitary forces and scrapping of separate administration demand.

During the rally at Chingamathak, the protesters were stopped by security forces from approaching the Assam Rifles camp and were dismissed after an understanding of the security detail in the area. The rally then continued towards Minister Khemchand’s residence at Yumnam Leikai where the protestors, after meeting the minister, reportedly decried the state leaders' inaction in reining in the Manipur crisis.

The rally then went to the speaker and BJP president’s residence in the Brahmapur area but unfortunately, both individuals were not available. However, the protestors apprised both leaders of their grievance through telephonic conversations.

The rally then concluded at MP Sanajaoba Leishemba’s residence at the Royal Palace but could not meet the MP as he was out of station for the ongoing parliament sessions. The women protestors apprised the MP’s personal assistant (PA) about the purpose of the rally and briefed the PA about the various demands of people in the valley. The PA assured to relay the message to Sanajaoba Leishemba.


Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the rally, a protester lambasted the state and central government for leaving the present conflict completely run amuck for more than three months.

“Both the central and state authorities have completely abandoned the people to fend for themselves; the desperate need for protection has triggered people to loot and obtain arms and also engage in gun battles, all to protect their families and their people,” she said.

She stated that the strong reactions of the Meiteis were founded in response to the unprovoked gun attack by suspected militants of the other community.

“It is not the loot but the reasons instigating numerous individuals to resort to such desperate acts that should be discussed; at the core of the issue will be the complete failure of both central and state governments to protect the people, their properties and Manipur,” she said.

How can anyone bear the pain of losing a loved one and their homes being ransacked and burnt, she added. She also mentioned that it was the authorities’ inaction that compelled the people to act.

Meanwhile, keeping in line with the same demands several sit-ins were also staged across numerous locations in Imphal including Khurai Sarjor Leikai, Salanthong, Keishampat area, Thangmeiband-Khuyathong area, Wangkhei and many more.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the sit-in at Khurai Tharo Devi Community Hall, a protester denounced the alleged biased security measures of the Assam Rifles and central paramilitary forces in Manipur.

“During the stand-off at Torbung they utilized drastic security measures and even went to the extent of manhandling the unarmed women protestors, electrocuting them and even pepper spraying the protestors mindlessly all in the name of security measures,” she said.

She alleged that such illogical biased security measures of the central paramilitary forces had compelled the people to resent them as such she demanded their complete removal from the state.


Meanwhile, a large number of women protesters in Thangmeiband also supported the mass protest on Monday by blocking the main road in the Khoyathong area while women of the Khurai Telipati area along with non-local residents burnt the effigies of central and state leaders. The protestors shouted slogans for the complete removal of Assam Rifles from the state and demanded the safeguarding of Manipur’s territorial integrity.

One of the significant protests was held at Khwairamband Bazar in Imphal, where women vendors rallied together, shouting powerful slogans against the Assam Rifles.

The protest held during the curfew relaxation period lasted for nearly half an hour, with the women expressing their concerns about the alleged mistreatment of Meitei women by the Assam Rifles, including the use of barbed wire and tear gas chemicals.

A woman protester, while addressing the media, raised questions about the silence of Prime Minister Modi and BJP Manipur president A Sarda in the face of the reported assaults on valley women by the AR, while they immediately react on a single viral video. She emphasised the urgent need for the withdrawal of the Assam Rifles from Manipur.

In another demonstration at Andro Parking in Imphal East, an effigy of an Assam Rifles Commanding Officer, who had gone viral on social media, celebrating with Kuki women, was set ablaze by the local Meira Paibi (women's torchbearer) group.

Effigies of Prime Minister Modi, Union Home minister Amit Shah, chief minister N Biren and BJP Manipur president A Sharda were also set ablaze at Telipati area along the Imphal-Ukhrul road in Imphal East by the local Meira Paibis.

Meanwhile womenfolk of Kongba area, Imphal East also took to the street and blocked the Imphal-Kongba road for nearly an hour.

Similar protest was also taken up along the Tiddim Road near Hodam Leirak Machin in Imphal West, blocking a side of the median of the Imphal-Airport Road.

Such protests were also witnessed at different corners of all streets in the valley districts where some of the protests even blocked roads and streets, expressing the collective demand for the Assam Rifles' departure from Manipur.


First published:


assam rifleswomen protestmanipur violencemeitei women

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur


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