Hmar Tribes Seek 24-Hour Vigil After 4 Shops Set On Fire In Manipur’s Jiribam


There was fresh tension in Jiribam today after four shops run by members of the Hmar-Kuki-Zomi tribes caught fire, a civil society group of the tribes said in a statement.

The Indigenous Tribes Advocacy Committee (ITAC) in the statement asked the authorities to “immediately arrest the perpetrators and punish them appropriately as per law.”

The ITAC alleged the shops were set on fire by the Meitei armed group Arambai Tenggol.

“The houses and shops burnt down… [are] all situated at Hmar Veng, Kalinagar, Jiribam… [and] Meitei Leikai, Jiribam,” the ITAC alleged in the statement, which included the names of the shopowners.

It said the areas that need 24-hour protection include Kalinagar Part 1 and 2, Hmar Veng, IB Leikai, Karong, Ranin Veng, Mission Compound, Vengnuam, Babupara ward No. 4 (bazaar), and Uchathol.

“We urges 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 said in the statement. 

The ITAC said so far 45 houses of the Hmar-Kuki-Zomi tribes have been burned down in Jiribam. One church was set on fire by a Meitei mob on Saturday last. Locals managed to douse the fire before it spread to the entire building.

The ITAC said 40-year-old L Lallianmuang was allegedly kidnapped from his house in Jiribam’s Vengnuam Dibong Khunou by Arambai Tenggol members. Mr Lallianmuang is missing, the group said.

The tribal community is always blamed for any death in Jiribam, the ITAC alleged, adding the Arambai Tenggol in order to keep its relevance ahead of the 2027 assembly election needs to keep creating chaos, especially after their booth-capturing attempts in the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha seat failed.

Hundreds of members of the Hmar-Kuki-Zomi tribes and some Meiteis have taken shelter in neighbouring Assam. Over 900 Meiteis are living in seven relief camps in Jiribam.

Jiribam district had remained untouched by the ethnic crisis for over a year. Until Saturday last, when the mutilated body of a 59-year-old man from the Meitei community was found. Before that, in May, the decomposed body of a Kuki teen was found in a river. The police have not released the autopsy report; however, the Kuki tribes alleged the body had bullet wounds. The Meiteis have alleged the 59-year-old man was tortured and killed by Kuki miscreants in an act of revenge.

These two incidents ignited trouble in the district through which National Highway 37 passes, one of the two lifelines of Manipur, the other being the highway going to Assam via Nagaland. Jiribam has a diverse ethnic composition.

 There was fresh tension in Jiribam today after four shops run by members of the Hmar-Kuki-Zomi tribes caught fire, a civil society group of the tribes said in a statement.    

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