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Bullets and bombs rain on Sugnu : Manipur rights activist questions role of security forces

Sugnu, one of the last Meitei community-inhabited villages on the southern valley area in Manipur's Kakching district, has been battered by volleys of bombs and bullets from suspected militants for the last seven days, leaving a trail of destruction and casualties.

Apart from the official report of a BSF jawan being injured in the onslaught, locals claimed that five elderly persons, including four women, died due to heart attacks since February 14.

The deceased have been identified as Moirangthem Tombi, 103, Khaidem Achoubi, 74, Thongam Chaoba, 80, Laishram Dasumati, 60, and Moirangthem Nandakumar, 62, all hailing from Sugnu.

The locals also expressed dissatisfaction over what they termed as inaction of the security forces in protecting them.

The militants often rained bullets and bombs on Sugnu village from across the Manipur river which resulted in heavy exchange of fire between the village volunteers and the extremists. Alongside, there has been extensive damage of houses which are located near the river bank, making the area look like a war-devastated zone.

Official sources said that efforts are being made by the state forces, along with the Central forces, to deescalate the violence.

In this regard, heavy deployment of BSF and state forces were made at different locations of Sugnu, including the bazaar area and inter-village roads, they added.

A reported joint operation by state forces and BSF was carried out there on Tuesday and Wednesday for area domination.

Rights activist Aheibam Chanthoisana, who hails from Sugnu, on the other hand, has questioned the alleged inaction of the forces, saying “the firing and bombardment are being carried out from a 3-km long trench located at Lailongphai and Dongyang villages in Churachandpur. The trench was dug not just in a day by using machines. It was dug manually right under the nose of security forces posts".

Chanthoisana claimed that since February 14, around 500 bombs and an endless number of bullets have been fired by the suspected militants towards Sugnu so far.

She noted that when violence broke out at Churachandpur in May last year, Sugnu area was relatively peaceful following a truce among the communities. But on the intervening night of May 27 and 28, the truce broke as militants rained bullets towards Sugnu, forcing hundreds of families to flee their homes and take shelter at safer climes.

“Normalcy seemed to have come back in August as many displaced persons returned home. Yet again these past seven days Sugnu is on the boil," she said.

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