In a disturbing turn of events, Imphal witnessed a harrowing clash between security forces, including the RAF (Rapid Action Force) and the police, and protesting students demanding justice for two murdered students, Hemanjit and Linthoingambi. The confrontation left around 175 students injured as security personnel resorted to using tear gas shells and live rounds issued to the RAF.
The Violent Confrontation
On a fateful Wednesday, students took to the streets in different parts of Imphal, demanding justice for the slain students. Unfortunately, their peaceful protests turned into a violent standoff with the authorities. Tear gas shells and pellet guns were employed, causing multiple injuries among the students.
The injured students were promptly rushed to various hospitals across the city. Out of the 175 casualties, three were admitted to JNIMS (Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences), 19 to Kripadashini Advanced Hospital, 53 to Advanced Hospital, 35 to Raj Medicity, six to Shija Hospitals, and 59 to RIMS Hospital. The majority of the injuries were a result of tear gas shelling and firing from barrel guns issued to the RAF. Shockingly, 59 students, including females, were brought to RIMS for treatment, with five suffering pellet wounds.
Victims of Violence
Among the injured students, names and schools began to surface. Notable casualties included Manipur College student Limeson Thokchom, Naorem Birahari College student Thokchom Mani, DM College of Science students Oinam Nongdamba, Wangthoiba Wangkhem, and Laishram Rohit, EK Higher Secondary School student Kingson Nongthombam, CC Higher Secondary School student Tongbram Suresh, IMA student Borish Nongmaithem, and Lamlai Higher Secondary School student Samom Goro.
The injuries ranged from head, ear, and chest wounds to pellet injuries in various parts of the body. The use of force by the RAF and police had led to this grim situation.
Despite the state government declaring holidays for schools and colleges due to the volatile law and order situation, a large number of students from various educational institutions gathered in uniform to voice their demands. They marched to the CM’s secretariat, seeking justice and accountability.
Thirty students were eventually allowed to meet the Chief Minister, and they submitted a memorandum outlining several demands:
- Swift identification and arrest of the culprits behind the murders within three days.
- An end to the use of excessive force against student protestors.
- The recovery and handover of the victims’ bodies to their families within three days.
- An end to the partisan conduct of central security forces.
- The lifting of the ban on mobile internet service.
The memorandum also urged the Chief Minister to personally intervene in Delhi and take necessary measures to resolve the crisis within three days. The students expressed their frustration, emphasizing that if their demands were not met, they would resort to more extensive forms of protest.
The Outrage Spreads
The protests against the kidnapping and killing of the two students gained momentum as young men and women, wearing black badges as a symbol of protest, took to the streets. They chanted slogans and displayed placards, expressing their outrage over the tragic incident.
Escalation of Violence
As the day wore on, the situation escalated. Clashes erupted between the protestors and security forces, leading to injuries on both sides. Tear gas shells, smoke bombs, and even slingshots were used in the confrontations. Some protestors resorted to stone-pelting, further intensifying the chaos.
Rally in Bishnupur District
In Bishnupur district, a rally was organized by six student bodies, supported by activists from the district. They congregated at the Mini Secretariat Complex, demanding stringent punishment for the murderers and the reopening of educational institutions.
Protests Across Thoubal District
Thoubal district also witnessed protests as students and meira paibi (women activists) took to the streets to demand justice for the murdered students. Unfortunately, violence marred these protests, with clashes between protestors and security forces resulting in injuries and damage to public property.
Internet Services Suspended
In response to the growing unrest and to prevent the spread of misinformation and rumors, the state government re-imposed a ban on mobile internet services until October 1, 7.45 pm. This measure followed a recent lifting of the ban that had been in place for over four months due to ethnic clashes.
The state government declared holidays for schools on September 27 and 29, given the prevailing law and order situation. September 28 was also a public holiday in view of Milad Un-Nabi (Prophet Muhammad’s birthday).
The situation in Imphal remains tense as students and activists continue to demand justice for the murdered students. The violent clashes between protestors and security forces have raised concerns, and the re-imposition of the internet ban underscores the gravity of the situation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What were the demands of the protesting students in Imphal? The protesting students demanded swift identification and arrest of the culprits behind the murders, an end to the use of excessive force against student protestors, the recovery and handover of the victims’ bodies to their families, an end to partisan conduct by central security forces, and the lifting of the ban on mobile internet service.
- How did the protests escalate in Thoubal district? Protests in Thoubal district escalated into violence, with clashes between protestors and security forces resulting in injuries and damage to public property.
- Why was the ban on mobile internet services re-imposed in Imphal? The ban on mobile internet services was re-imposed by the state government to prevent the spread of misinformation and rumors amidst the growing unrest in the region.
- What led to the violent clashes between students and security forces in Imphal? The violent clashes between students and security forces in Imphal were triggered by the use of tear gas shells, pellet guns, and other forms of force by the authorities in response to the protests demanding justice for two murdered students.
- Are schools in Imphal closed due to the ongoing situation? Yes, the state government declared holidays for schools on September 27 and 29 due to the prevailing law and order situation, with September 28 being a public holiday in view of Milad Un-Nabi.