Manipur Violence: Massive protests even reach Chief Minister’s Home Turf

Imphal : The atmosphere in Manipur has grown tense, marked by the unmistakable and increasingly frequent sounds of tear gas canisters being fired. This underscores the state government’s mounting challenges in maintaining order. Highlighting the severity of the situation, a large crowd believed to be from various valley districts made a significant move by attempting to besiege the residence of Chief Minister N Biren Singh in Luwangsangbam on Thursday evening.

This mobilization was not merely an impulsive act of unrest. The crowd was an integral part of a broader protest movement, demanding that the state administration apprehend those responsible for the tragic deaths of two students from the Meitei community – Hijam Linthoingambi and Phijam Hemjit. Images capturing the harrowing final moments of these young individuals, as well as haunting shots of their lifeless bodies, rapidly spread across social media platforms. The profound grief and indignation evoked by these images have struck a particularly poignant chord with those residing in the valley districts, especially among members of the Meitei community. Their collective call for justice and accountability grows louder with each passing day.

Following the escalation at Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s residence, valley areas have become a hotspot for clashes between protestors and security forces. The state has borne witness to numerous demonstrations, resulting in swift and often heavy-handed reactions from the authorities. These confrontations have left many injured in their wake.

In a particularly intense episode from yesterday’s late-night protest, participants denounced the alleged overuse of force by security personnel during a demonstration led by the student community on September 27. This specific incident, which resulted in multiple student injuries, has ignited a series of similar confrontations across the region.

The standoff that transpired last night persisted well into the early hours of today. Beginning around 8 p.m., it reached its peak intensity at around 1.30 a.m. From northern and southern vantage points, determined protestors sought to converge on the chief minister’s residence. Despite stern warnings from the security forces, the crowd’s palpable frustration and anger towards perceived governmental shortcomings overpowered their sense of restraint. Their relentless march was met with an equally unyielding response, as security forces deployed tear gas and smoke bombs to disperse the swelling ranks of protesters.

This prolonged clash underscores the volatile atmosphere in Manipur and the deep-rooted grievances felt by its citizens. As dawn breaks, the aftermath of such an intense night leaves the state, its leaders, and its people at a critical crossroads.