Manipur Unrest: Women Lead Torch Rally Protesting Violence, March Towards Chief Minister’s Residence

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In a powerful demonstration of solidarity and protest against escalating violence in Manipur, women activists in Imphal organized a torch rally and marched towards Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s official residence. The rally was triggered by the recent killing of two security personnel by armed militants in Moreh, a border town on the India–Myanmar border in Tengnoupal district.

The women protesters, known locally as Meira Paibi or women torchbearers, converged from various areas, including Malom, Keishampat, and Kwakeithel, expressing their outrage through slogans as they advanced towards the Chief Minister’s Secretariat. Despite their attempt to enter the secretariat, the police intervened and prevented their entry.

The primary focus of the protesters was to condemn the recent gunfight in Moreh and other parts of Manipur. Additionally, they demanded the annulment of the Suspension of Operations (SoO) deal with hill-based militant outfits. The SoO agreement, initiated on August 22, 2008, aimed to facilitate political dialogue with militant groups.

The Manipur government responded to the unrest by imposing a total curfew from midnight on Tuesday. The decision was based on intelligence inputs warning of potential breaches of peace, disturbances to public tranquility, and grave threats to human lives and property within the revenue jurisdiction of Tengnoupal.

The volatile situation in Manipur has been exacerbated by ongoing ethnic clashes that erupted on May 3 last year between the Valley-majority Meiteis and hill-majority Kukis. Since then, the region has experienced sporadic violence, resulting in over 180 casualties and the internal displacement of thousands.

As women lead the charge in these protests, their resilience and determination send a powerful message, urging authorities to address the root causes of the violence and work towards restoring peace and harmony in Manipur.

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