Lives hit hard by conflict, Manipur witnesses rise in extortion, abduction, theft case

A senior police official in Imphal told on Thursday that nearly 100 cases of extortion, theft and abduction have been registered since April.
Last Updated : 24 May 2024, 15:51 IST
Last Updated : 24 May 2024, 15:51 IST

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Guwahati : With more than a year long conflict severely disrupting livelihoods, Manipur has also witnessed a surge in criminal cases such as abduction, extortion and theft in the last two months.

A senior police official in Imphal told Deccan Herald on Thursday that nearly 100 cases of extortion, theft and abduction have been registered since April, mostly in the Meitei-dominated Valley districts and more than 20 cadres belonging to insurgent groups have been arrested.

The arrested cadres belong to insurgent groups like Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), (People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak) PEPAK, Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) and People's Liberation Army of Manipur (PLA) factions, which are yet to join the peace process. 

"Although extortion from traders and other rich people by such groups is not new in Manipur, we have observed a disturbing trend in the past few months. Normally extortions are collected by the rebel group but most of those arrested recently were found collecting money in their individual capacity. They are doing this for money as livelihoods have been severely affected due to the ongoing conflict," he said.

He said that at least 13 people including four police personnels were abducted for extortion. Most of the people have been rescued but more and more are being targeted as uncertainty prevails over return of normalcy in the state.

Many are also stealing public properties like non-functional power transformers, construction materials used in projects, seized timbers, among other things for easy money, he added.

Some are resorting to theft of vehicles. On Tuesday (May 21), police arrested 15 people who were allegedly involved in the theft of construction materials from the premises of NIT, Langol in Imphal West district. 

The security forces recovered 9mm pistols, demand notes, stolen mobile handsets, cars and other items from those arrested in such cases. "Similar incidents are also being reported in the Kuki areas," said the official. 

"As there is easy availability of small weapons, many are using them to extort money. Many are also extorting money to buy more weapons and prepare for similar conflict," he said. 

Recent Incidents: 

May 22: Two cadres of militant group PREPAK were arrested at Lamlong Bazar in Imphal West district with extortion notes, cash. 

May 22: Three cadres of KCP (PWG group) arrested at Yairipok Bazar in Thoubal with demand notes, stolen car.  

May 10: A construction worker abducted allegedly by a Kuki rebel group from Imphal West. 

May 8: A power transformer stolen from Bishnupur district, later found. 

Published 24 May 2024, 15:51 IST

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