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.
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?