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‘Shoot at sight’ order helps security forces contain escalating violence in Manipur riots.

The recent riots between tribals and the Meitei community in Manipur have forced the State government to issue a ‘shoot at sight’ order to contain the escalating violence. Although no new violence was reported overnight between communities, there were gunfights between security forces and hill-based militants in various parts of the state. The exchanges of fire took place in Kangvai, Phougakchao, Dolaithabi, and Pukhao, and a senior police officer said it’s unclear if there were any casualties.

 

A defence PRO statement claimed the situation was under control, stating, ‘The situation has been brought under control through coordinated actions by all stakeholders.’ The Indian Air Force has undertaken continuous sorties from two airfields in Assam, employing C17 Globemaster and AN 32 aircraft to maintain stability. The ‘shoot at sight’ order permits magistrates to issue it when all options of persuasion, warning and reasonable force have been exhausted and the situation cannot be controlled.

 

The rioting has already displaced over 9,000 people from their villages, and multiple sources suggest more than a score of people have died, with several others injured. However, the police are unwilling to confirm this. In response, 55 columns of the Army and Assam Rifles were deployed, and more troops were brought in from Nagaland by road, with the IAF flying in reinforcements from Guwahati and Tezpur. A defence spokesperson said, ‘The situation in Moreh and Kangpokpi has been brought under control and is stable. All efforts are underway to restore normalcy in Imphal and Churachandpur.’ Additionally, the Army kept some 14 columns on standby for deployment if the situation flares up again.

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