Violence flared up in Manipur after Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh announced the creation of seven new districts on December 9. The move has been opposed by the United Naga Council (UNC), alleging the government has taken portions of “traditionally ancestral Naga land” and added it to the new districts. The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), known as NSCN (IM), a militant group backed by the UNC, stormed a police station in Tamenglong district and decamped with arms and ammunition on December 17. On December 14, a police team was attacked in the newly formed Tengnoupal district, causing three deaths.
Meanwhile, Manipuris protesting against the economic blockade imposed by Naga groups since November 1 defied curfew and attacked vehicles on their way to the predominantly Naga district of Ukhrul on Sunday. The blockade was imposed in protest against the “lopsided decision of the communal government of Manipur to declare the so called Sadar Hills and Jiribam subdivision into full fledged districts.” Despite police protection, 21 vehicles carrying over 300 people were attacked by stones and set on fire by a mob. In the attack, drivers and passengers were not targeted and there were no casualties.
On Friday, there were three Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blasts in Manipur’s capital city Imphal, all apparently targeted at people considered close to the NSCN (IM).
An indefinite curfew has been imposed in Imphal East and West districts on Saturday, while internet services were suspended across Imphal.
The NSCN (IM) has alleged that violence against Nagas in Manipur is backed by the CM himself. On the other hand, those protesting the blockade have blamed the Central government of “pampering the United Naga Council (UNC) and the militant outfit underpinning it” and being a “silent spectator to the indefinite economic blockade imposed against Manipur”.