IMPHAL: Tension continued to grip Ukhrul district on the second day on Friday as the crucial meeting between senior officers of Manipur Police and civil society organisation (CSO) members at Hongbei failed to break the deadlock over the deployment of a large number of Assam Rifles personnel in the area.
As the decision of the meeting became public, the locals of the area, especially women, decided to station themselves at Hongbei by blocking the tri-junction road and continue with their protest.
As a part of their protest, a large number of women came out on the streets, braving the cold weather due to the incessant rains, and took out a torch rally to press for their demands on Friday evening. As per reports, the situation at Kashung Bungdung village in the southern part of Ukhrul district in Manipur became tense on Thursday when troops of Assam Rifles tried to advance beyond the village.
On Friday, Manipur Police, including women personnel, led by IG IK Muivah, along with DIG Kabib, deputy COC Cecelia from IRBn, Assam Rifles and around 25 vehicles were stopped by local women at Honpei village when they were on the way to Kashung Budung, the place where the confrontation between the army and women took place on Thursday.
Locals at Hongbei have reportedly completely blocked the way for armed forces to proceed beyond the village.
On Friday, army personnel and local women continued to be at loggerheads at Honpei village, around 50 km from Bungdung Kashung, since 10 in the morning. Various Naga civil organisations, led by Tangkhul Naga Long’s (TNL) Hopingson Shimray and Tangkhul Shanao Long’s (TSL) Veronica Zingkhai were on the spot to oversee the situation.
As per reports, the locals at Hongbei have completely blocked the road for armed forces to proceed beyond the village.
Earlier on Thursday, a massive public outcry, especially among women, was witnessed at Kashung Bungdung village after troops of Assam Rifles tried to advance beyond the village, reportedly without announcement, to raid NSCN-IM hideouts in the border villages, said sources.
However, to avoid any obstacle from the locals, the troops did not disclose their purpose of patrolling the area or deployment of additional security forces along the border villages, except routine sighting to oversee the law and order enforcement in the periphery. Around 300 women of Kashung Bungdung came out of their homes and stopped the troops from crossing the village to avoid any unwanted incidents to take place, especially when the whole country is fighting against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the women at the standoff said that they won’t tolerate such attitude from the army or the administration at a time when the whole world continues to fight the novel Coronavirus and trying to save humanity from the pandemic.