Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF): Condemnation

The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF) condemns in the strongest terms the killing of two Kuki-Zo village volunteers by central security forces, who aided Meitei militants by firing and shelling tribal positions in Phailengmol area of Manipur’s Kangpokpi district today.

A combined team of Arambai Tenggol and UNLF militants has been attacking tribal areas since yesterday and openly posting about their activity on social media.

When clashes broke out today between the two sides, central security forces posted nearby resorted to firing heavily (witnesses said it was raining bullets) towards the hills. They also fired mortars, which killed Kamminlal Lupheng (23) and Kamlengsat Lunkim (25) and forced other volunteers to retreat from their bunkers. Meitei militants then went inside the hills and discovered the bodies - one inside a bunker and another laying nearby. 

Central security forces are deployed to maintain peace and remain neutral, but their actions today have raised many questions ahead of the Lok Sabha election. Also, how were the Meitei militants able to cross the buffer zone freely and defile the bodies of the deceased? 

The developments are a grave concern for many tribal villagers who, after almost a year of being displaced, have recently resettled in the area. ITLF also condemns the barbaric treatment of the bodies - the deceased were dragged on ropes, their faces stomped on and sprayed with bullets, and their arms hacked off with machetes. We demand that security forces retrieve the bodies and hand them over to their families as soon as possible.

~ Chairman/ Secretary, ITLF



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