Manipur: Army releases 12 KYKL militants after a standoff with women-led mob

The troops left with seized weapons and ammunition

Visuals Visuals from the search operation at Itham village in Imphal East | Indian Army

The Indian Army was forced to release 12 Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) militants who were apprehended during an operation in Manipur's Itham village after a standoff with a women-led mob of 1,500 people.

An official release from Defence PRO said the women entered into a standoff with the Army by surrounding the target area, thereby stopping them from continuing with the operation. "The area was cordoned before the specific search commenced to avoid inconvenience to the locals. The operation resulted in the apprehension of 12 KYKL cadres along with arms, ammunition and war-like stores," the release said.

However, a mob of approximately 1,200-1,500 women and the local leader immediately surrounded the target area. Though the Army appealed to the aggressive mob to let them continue with their operation, it did not yield any positive results.

"Keeping in view the sensitivity of the use of kinetic force against a large irate mob and envisaged casualties due to such action, the officer on the ground made a considerate decision to hand over all 12 cadres to the local leader. Own columns lifted the cordon and left the area with weapons and war-like stores, recovered from insurgents," it read.

The statement added that Army took "a mature decision" to not risk civilian lives and this reflected its humane face of the force.

The Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), a Meitei militant group, was involved in several attacks, including the ambush of a 6 Dogra unit in 2015, they said. Among those holed up in the village was self-styled Lt Col Moirangthem Tamba alias Uttam, a wanted terrorist who may have been the mastermind of the Dogra ambush tragedy, officials said.

More than 100 people have lost their lives in the ethnic violence between Meitei and Kuki communities in the northeastern state so far. Clashes first broke out on May 3 after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur's population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals -- Nagas and Kukis -- constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.

(With inputs from PTI)


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