Last Updated on May 20, 2023 by SPN Editor
Imphal/ May 20, 2023 (SPN) | The Engourok Mahadeva temple, a highly revered Hindu temple in Manipur, has been vandalized and set on fire by Kuki militants. The temple is also known as Ingourok Chingu Pangalba to Meitei tribes.
Thangjam Sanajaoba, the Secretary of the Engourok Mahadeva Chingu Pangalba Development Organization, reported that the Engourok Mahadeva temple, its godown, and its office have been burned down by Kuki militants.
The idol of the deity inside the Engourok Mahadeva temple has been desecrated and shattered, rendering the sacred site inaccessible. Additionally, the temple of Ima Panthoibi has been vandalized.
Concerned about the escalating situation, a joint committee comprising nearby Meitei villages, including Leimakhong Chingmang, Ingourok Chingmang, Khurkhul, Kanto Khullen, Kanto Sabal, Ex-Servicemen Colony, Chirang, Senjam Chirang, and Moibung Khunou, held a meeting to discuss how to protect unarmed Meitei villagers from armed Kuki militants and restore peace in the area.
During the meeting organized by 11 local clubs of the Leimakhong-Khurkhul area, four resolutions were adopted. The first resolution demanded the immediate withdrawal of Assam Rifles personnel from the Kanto Sabal camp, who belong to the Kuki community.
The second resolution called for the immediate repair and restoration of the water pipeline that supplies water to the Meitei villages, which was destroyed by armed Kukis.
The third resolution urged the immediate removal of bunkers built by armed Kukis around the Meitei villages.
If the concerned authorities fail to fulfill these three resolutions promptly, the fourth resolution threatens to block the transportation of food items to nearby Kuki villages where armed Kukis are stationed.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, the president of All Khurkhul United Club, Usham Shantikumar, highlighted the tense and fearful atmosphere that the people of Leimakhong Chingmang, Ingourok Chingmang, Khurkhul, Senjam Chirang, Kanto Sabal, and others have been living in.
Shantikumar expressed dissatisfaction with the paramilitary forces, as they have been harassing the villagers by conducting headcounts instead of providing protection. He lamented that the security forces have not taken any action to remove the bunkers constructed by armed Kukis in the area.
Shantikumar also mentioned that armed Kuki militants have been shooting and slaughtering cattle owned by Meitei villagers, as well as stealing poultry birds and pigs from Meitei households located near Kuki villages.
He accused the Kuki militants of creating animosity and hatred between Kuki and Meitei villages in the area and called on the government not to extend the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement any further.
The village chief of P Moulding, Kamshei, expressed deep sadness over the acts of vandalism and arson, mentioning that they had made fervent appeals to the armed Kuki militants not to damage or set fire to the temple, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
These incidents reflect the escalating tensions and violence between the Kuki and Meitei communities in the area, and urgent measures are required to address the situation and restore peace.
In another incident, suspected cadres of a Kuki militant group allegedly set fire to at least two houses belonging to Meitei families in Dolaithabi, Imphal East yesterday.
The incident occurred when locals, who had been seeking shelter elsewhere, returned to their homes accompanied by Assam Rifles personnel to collect their belongings.
According to reports from the scene, the Assam Rifles granted the locals only 10 minutes to gather their belongings before hastily vacating the area.
Shortly after their departure, suspected cadres of a Kuki militant group descended from the nearby hills and set ablaze two houses located approximately 150 meters away from the Dolaithabi barrage.
Upon learning about the incident, a large number of locals from Dolaithabi and Pukhao attempted to move toward the site, but the Assam Rifles prevented their access for security reasons. State police also arrived at the scene to assess the situation.
Some local residents stated to the media that armed Kuki militants had previously burned down 30 houses in Dolaithabi.