Deadly firing spanning three days along the Churachandpur-Bishnupur border in Manipur has resulted in the tragic loss of at least six lives, sparking alarm over the escalating violence in the region. The exchange of gunfire, which erupted between the Kuki-Zomi-dominated Churachandpur district and the Meitei-dominated Bishnupur district, began early on Tuesday and has since led to casualties on both sides.
According to sources, the areas of Ngangkhalawai, Thamnapokpi, Kangathei, Khousabung, and L Phainom have been marked by intermittent fire clashes. The situation has grown increasingly dire, with injuries and fatalities mounting.
In the span of these three days, two individuals from the Kuki-Zomi community succumbed to their injuries on Thursday morning. One of the victims, L S Mangboi (42), gained local popularity for his song “I gam hilo ham” (“Isn’t this our land?”) created during the ongoing conflict.
Among the casualties, Richard Hemkholin Guite (36), a village defense volunteer, also lost his life due to injuries sustained during Wednesday’s clashes. The situation remains tense, with two more individuals, Paokam Kipgen (45) and Pausondam (32), both defense volunteers stationed in the front line area, falling victim to the violence.
The Meitei community in Bishnupur has also experienced loss, with two men, including Pebam Deban (50), losing their lives on Thursday due to injuries caused by explosions.
In response to the escalating violence, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum has announced an “emergency shutdown” in the Churachandpur district, excluding essential services such as healthcare, police, water, and electricity.
Amidst these dire circumstances, concerns continue to mount as the region grapples with the tragic consequences of the ongoing firing, leaving communities in distress and seeking respite from the escalating tensions.