Hmar Tribes Seek 24-Hour Vigil After Shops Set Ablaze in Manipur’s Jiribam

GG News Bureau
Guwahati, 13th June. 
Fresh tension erupted in Manipur’s Jiribam district today after four shops owned by members of the Hmar-Kuki-Zomi tribes were set on fire, according to a statement from the Indigenous Tribes Advocacy Committee (ITAC). The ITAC has called on authorities to “immediately arrest the perpetrators and punish them appropriately as per law.”

The ITAC alleges that the shops were targeted by the Meitei armed group Arambai Tenggol. The statement provided details of the affected areas, including Hmar Veng and Kalinagar, and named the shopowners. It emphasized the need for 24-hour protection in various localities, including Kalinagar Parts 1 and 2, Hmar Veng, IB Leikai, Karong, Ranin Veng, Mission Compound, Vengnuam, Babupara ward No. 4 (bazaar), and Uchathol.

“We urge the competent authorities to immediately arrange a 24-hour vigil and patrolling by central forces in and around the localities inhabited by the indigenous tribals of Hmar, Kuki, and Zomi in Jiribam to prevent further destruction and stealing of properties and items by Meitei miscreants and Arambai Tenggol,” the ITAC stated.

The committee reported that 45 houses belonging to the Hmar-Kuki-Zomi tribes have been burned down in Jiribam so far. Additionally, a church was set on fire by a Meitei mob last Saturday, though locals managed to douse the flames before the entire building was destroyed.

The ITAC also reported the alleged kidnapping of 40-year-old L Lallianmuang from his house in Vengnuam Dibong Khunou by Arambai Tenggol members. Mr. Lallianmuang is currently missing.

The ITAC claims that the tribal community is often blamed for deaths in Jiribam and accused Arambai Tenggol of creating chaos to maintain relevance ahead of the 2027 assembly election, particularly after their failed booth-capturing attempts in the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat.

Currently, hundreds of Hmar-Kuki-Zomi tribes and some Meiteis have taken shelter in neighboring Assam, while over 900 Meiteis are living in seven relief camps in Jiribam. The district had remained relatively peaceful until last Saturday when the mutilated body of a 59-year-old Meitei man was discovered. Earlier in May, the decomposed body of a Kuki teen was found in a river, with the Kuki tribes alleging bullet wounds, though the autopsy report has not been released by the police.

These incidents have heightened tensions in Jiribam, through which National Highway 37—one of Manipur’s two main highways—passes.

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