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4 Manipur Cops Abducted And Assaulted, 2 Meitei Members Arrested

Two members of the radical Meitei group Arambai Tenggol were arrested on Sunday for their alleged involvement in the abduction and assault of four Manipur Police personnel in Kangpokpi district, Imphal East. This marks the second such incident this year in which members of Arambai Tenggol have been involved in the abduction and assault of police personnel.

According to a statement released by the Manipur Police on Monday morning, the arrested individuals are Taibanganba Sanoujam, aged 25, and Moirangthem Bobo, aged 40, both belonging to Arambai Tenggol for the abduction and physical assault of the personnel. Authorities are currently conducting search operations to apprehend other suspects connected to the incident.

The Manipur Police disclosed that four Village Defence Force members, namely Ram Bahadur Karki, Ramesh Budhathoki, Manoj Khatiwoda, and Md. Taj Khan was on duty when they were stopped and abducted from Imphal East at around 12.30 pm on Saturday. The personnel were later released and returned to Kangpokpi police station by 3:30 pm the same day.

Notably, due to the entrenched conflict, Kuki-Zomi police personnel from Kangpokpi district, where they constitute the majority, refrain from operating in Meitei-dominated regions of the state.
Similarly, Meitei police personnel largely avoid venturing into Kuki-Zomi majority areas.

According to a police source from Kangpokpi district, the abducted personnel were tasked with retrieving items from the commando complex in the police headquarters in Imphal on Saturday.

It’s crucial to note that three of the personnel hail from the Nepali community, while one is Muslim, indicating that they are not affiliated with the conflicting groups.

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The officer said, “Before they reached, personnel inside the commando complex warned them that some miscreants were waiting outside. When they sought further instructions, they were told to return to Kangpokpi without collecting the items.

They moved away from there and started driving towards Kangpokpi but were stopped in Koreingei in Imphal East by what they said were around 30 armed men. They were blindfolded and taken to an unknown location, where they were beaten. They were released later, but their mobile phones and some cash were looted from them,”

Back in February, Arambai Tenggol made headlines when they abducted two police personnel, including an additional superintendent of police, in Imphal East. This abduction came in retaliation after police had detained some of the group’s members linked to vehicle thefts. Fortunately, the abducted officers were later rescued.

In response to this incident, Manipur Police commandos in various valley districts staged a symbolic protest by laying down their arms. The police force, in a strong statement, accused Arambai Tenggol of indulging in criminal activities under the guise of public protection and labeled them as antisocial.

Manipur has been embroiled in ethnic violence that erupted between the majority Meiteis and the tribal Kukis last year on May 3 over the former’s demand for ST status.

Meiteis, who constitute 53% of the state’s population, are concerned regarding the “influx of illegal immigrants” from Bangladesh and Myanmar. Meanwhile, tribals like Nagas and Kukis are worried about losing their ancestral lands. Over 200 people have been killed in the conflict, and over 50,000 have been displaced.

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