Manipur Police Officer shot dead at Moreh by suspected Chin-Kuki Sniper
Imphal: In a renewed offensive strike after a lull in strife-torn Manipur, suspected Kuki militants gunned down a sub divisional police officer at Moreh town bordering Myanmar on Tuesday morning.
Considering his “special duty in a special area,” an emergency cabinet meeting approved ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh and a suitable government job to the next of kin of the officer, Chingtham Anand, SDPO (Moreh).
Anand was overseeing the clearing of the grounds of Eastern Shine School for construction of a helipad at Moreh Ward No 7 when he was hit by a bullet ostensibly fired from a sniper rifle around 9.30 am, police sources said.
A resident of Haobam Marak Chingtham Leikai in Imphal West district, Anand was immediately rushed to the nearby primary health centre at Moreh where he succumbed to his critical injury around 10.15 am, eye witness said, adding that the bullet hit on his back and passed through the stomach. While being treated, Moreh police were waiting for a helicopter to lift Anand to treatment.
Choppers are being used to carry state forces and other supplies in and out from Moreh since the Imphal–Moreh route is currently blocked by Kuki protestors to prevent deployment of state forces at Moreh. Earlier two helipads maintained by 5 AR were used.
Following blocking of road leading to the two helipads of AR by Chin-Kuki-Zo womenfolk, the state govt had decided to make a new helipad exclusively for the state forces’ movement.
The incident came in the wake of the growing protests by Kuki-Chin- Zo residents against the deployment of state police at the border town about 110 Km from Imphal. The agitation began a few weeks after the ongoing ethnic violence broke out in the state on May 3. Following looting and arson attacks on the properties of Meiteis who have fled Moreh, the state government had been trying to send in additional state force to maintain law and order. However, the strength of the state forces at the border town was never at its optimal making the forces vulnerable, observed a strategic analyst.
Meanwhile, Biren Singh tweeted “Deeply saddened by the cold-blooded killing of SDPO Chingtham Anand, OC Moreh Police this morning. His dedication to serve and protect the people will always be remembered. The perpetrators will be brought to justice.”
Soon after the attack, security forces carried out operation at suspected areas at Moreh even as a team of state forces led by IPG Themtin Mashangva sent for reinforcement at Moreh was ambushed by suspected Kuki militants near the Sinam area near Bongyang village in the Tengnoupal district, halfway towards Moreh from Imphal. Sources said three personnel were reportedly injured and are being treated at Raj Medicity.
The emergency meeting chaired by chief minister N Biren Singh deliberated upon the emergent law and order situation arising in the state in the aftermath of Anand’s killing.
Noting that both sides of the ethnic conflict had been exercising restraint and peace has been maintained for the past one-and-half to two months, the cabinet condemned the dastardly act in strongest terms the killing when a sense of normalcy was slowly settling.
The Cabinet directed for “launching a joint operation in Moreh and adjoining areas to nab the culprits responsible for the crime”, and to continue the same till the culprits are arrested.
Further noting that that additional state forces have been detailed from Imphal for the purpose, it further directed that the Central and state forces shall ensure free movement of transportation and general public along Pallel-Moreh road on National Highway -102.
The cabinet further decided that no illegal armed personnel shall be permitted in or around Moreh, considering the strategic position of Moreh town under “India’s Act East Policy.”