‘We lived happily…now they call and cry’: In Manipur’s ‘ghost village’

A peace committee was formed on May 4, including Meitei, Kuki and other groups. But it could not stop violence from spilling over to other areas in Sugnoo.

WrittenBy:Prateek Goyal
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With over 400 houses set ablaze, the Serou village in Sugnoo block of Manipur’s Kakching district now looks like a ghost town.

But until the arson, which took place on May 28, normalcy had prevailed in Sugnoo even though violence had begun to grip other areas. A peace committee, comprising members of all communities, had been formed in the area immediately – with help from the police and Congress MLA K Ranjit Singh – after initial reports of clashes in other parts of the state. 

But it all changed on May 28. After a group of nearly 60 armed miscreants from the Kuki community allegedly targeted Meitei properties in Serou, the violence spilled over to other areas. A group of over 2,000 Meiteis subsequently mobilised in Sugnoo from Bishnupur, Kakching and Imphal, to allegedly lead an attack in Kuki-dominated areas such as Zouveng and Singtam. More than 150 houses were set ablaze, with 10 casualties.

In Serou, meanwhile, a villager told Newslaundry, “All of them ran away and never returned. They are in a relief camp. Sometimes they call and cry. Earlier, we all used to stay together happily but now our village has become a jungle.”

Why did the peace committee fail to ensure normalcy in the area? What triggered the violence? And what has been the impact on Serou, which also houses Nepalis and Bengalis?



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