Ambush leaves villagers fearful

Ambush leaves villagers fearful

After a week of series of attacks that started with the ambush at Paraolon where 18 Indian Army jawans were killed, followed by a grenade hurled at the Commando Unit Complex in the border town of Moreh the Chandel districts of Manipur that shares porous borders with Myanmar, has been on the boil.

While an intensified counter insurgency operation launched across the district has brought a bit of respite, people in Chandel are not only anxious but feel surprised at the circumstances of the June 4 ambush.

 Lot of claims and counter claims are made by both the Armed forces and the militants groups. 

“I was on vacation. I was washing utensils around 8:30 am. I could see the Army convey pass through and within minutes first I heard gunshots and then bomb blast. Soon bullets started flying over our head and we ran towards the jungles recounts Jeny, a school teacher.

Locals in the far flung area of Chandel are very apprehensive that this attack would create distrust among the locals and the Army and innocents would be harassed.

Many are ‘surprised’; how it could take place in Paraolon. “The area is totally sanitised. You have far more presence of the Assam Rifles on this side of the border; there is Army camps and also camps of the Manipur Rifles. It is very difficult to digest that that the militants sneaks in and sneaked out without any challenge. We feel scared,” says Phamhring Sengul, a resident of Chandel town. 

People in Chandel are also ‘surpised’ that a combined team of the NSCN(K), KYKL and the KCP have supposedly carried out the attack.

“We have lived with insurgency from childhood. This area is controlled by the NSCN-IM and the Kuki militant groups. The KCP and the KYKL are Meitei groups and do not have base here. The NSCN-IM  is arch rival  of the NSCN-K and would not allow them to operate here,  this makes the claims fishy” says another local youth in Chandel.

Villagers close to the border, mostly inhabited by the Naga and the Kuki tribes, are at the peril.

“Usually the militants and even the security forces never touched up if we fall in front of them in jungle where we have to go for firewood, fishing and shifting cultivation. Now that order seems to have been broken with this ambush” says octogenarian hunter Rengnung.

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