IMPHAL, Feb 23: Tension has spread though Motbung and Kangpokpi area today, as villagers of a community settling in the area started fleeing from their homestead and taking refuge in Sekmai area, following alleged intimidation imposed to the villagers by the Kuki National Front, (KNF-P) a signatory group of the Suspension of Operation with the central and state government.
Around 60 to 70 villagers all belonging to the same community were seen taking refuge at the Sekmai Koujaengleima community hall.
Talking to media persons in connection with the incident, a displaced villager taking shelther at the community hall disclosed that yesterday evening some unidentified persons in civvies came to the villages of a certain community settling at the Motbung, Saparmeina and Kangpokpi. The individuals on the pretext of having some joint talks with village chiefs of the areas picked some elders and leaders of the villages. However contrary to what they have been told the 15 individuals were taken to camp `Ebenezer` (a designated camp of the KNF-P), he said.
On reaching the camp at about 5 pm all the belongings including the mobile phones were seized from them. There, a leader of the outfit briefed the villagers of an incident of abduction of a businessman`s son from Sapermeina Bazaar by KCP MC.
He further claimed that the KNF leader further expressed his suspicion that the villagers settling in the area might have idea of the abduction incident. Later the seized phones were given to the villagers to call their respective contacts and ensure the release of the abducted person within two days. They were further warned that failure to ensure the release of the businessman`s son, the group will launched a search operation of the areas and further added that the villagers should themselves take responsibility for any untoward incident arising during the search operation of the villages.
With the stern warning the 15 villager who were detained for the day was later released by the outfit in the evening today around 3 pm. The villages convened a joint meeting and out of fear of the UG threat, they resolved to leave their respective villages this evening itself.
Meanwhile, on receiving the reports of the incident police and 43 AR swung into action to neutralize the situation. The security forces requested the villagers not to abandon their villages assuring full proof security measures. Security forces had a hard time in handling the situation as many villagers were left unconvinced with the assurance. Many villagers are reportedly stranded till the filing of this report.
Further in an attempt to neutralize the situation many civil society organization of various communities have rushed to the area, which included the United Committee Manipur, the Kuki Inpi Manipur etc.
The incident comes in the wake of a strong warning issued by Army officials to the outfit (KNF-P) very recently for violating ground rules of the SoO by attempting force recruitment of several children of Thoubal district which was reportedly claimed to have been foiled by the army.
At the same time, during a recent meeting of the Joint Monitoring Groups held at the first Manipur Rifles Battalion`s Banquet hall, the SoO signatory outfits were given strong instruction by both the central and state government to stick to the ground rules and to avoid anti social activities.
(NNN adds): Following the alleged `quit notice` served on the Meitei community residing in certain places of Sardar Hills by the Kuki National Front-President (KNF-P), around 100 people have left Motbung, Saparmeina and other areas of the Sardar Hills and they are now taking shelter at Sekmai this evening.
Following this incident, the Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA) has strongly condemned the act of KNF (P) saying it is `barbaric`.
Informing to Newmai News Network tonight, Jeremy Khongsai who is the `home secretary` of Revolutionary Government of Kukigam (RGOK/KRA) said, `In this modern world serving quit notice to one`s community is barbaric and unacceptable on humanitarian perspective.`
The RGOK/KRA has appealed the KNF-P to immediately revoke the quit notice `on compasionate ground` so as to avoid any unwanted incidents. The KRA then cautions that KNF-P should be held responsible for any fallout from the episode.
Meanwhile, reports said 15 Meiteis residing at Sapermeina, Motbung and Kangpokpi were summoned by the KNF-P on Tuesday to one place and questioned them why KCP-MC were made to take shelter in their houses. Reports added that the KNF-P were angry that KCP-MC had held hostage a kidnapped person from Imphal market recently in one of these Sadar Hills locality resided by the Meitei community. Following this, the KNF-P had asked the Meitei community to leave Sapermeina, Kangpokpi and Motbung by Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, the Kuki Inpi, Manipur (KIM) and the United Committee, Manipur (UCM) has been working hard to neutralize the situation.
The Kuki Inpi has appealed the Meitei not to leave Motbung, Sapermeina and Kangpokpi. Many Meiteis were reported stopped by the Kuki Inpi volunteers not to leave Kangpokpi. The Kuki Inpi also appealed the Meiteis who left their homesteads to return back home to Sapermeina, Motbung and Kangpokpi and further appealed for peace.