Home Top Stories In a first, Manipur Police officially accuses Arambai Tenggol of extortion, assault

In a first, Manipur Police officially accuses Arambai Tenggol of extortion, assault

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In a first, Manipur Police officially accuses Arambai Tenggol of extortion, assault

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Assam Rifle and Manipur Police recover one double-barrel rifle, 2 grenades, ammunition, and other war-like stores during a search operation, in Thoubal on Wednesday.
| Photo Credit: ANI

In its first official confirmation of the criminal havoc being caused by a popular and radical Meitei group, the Manipur Police on Thursday said that Arambai Tenggol is engaged in many “anti-social activities”, such as assaulting civilians, snatching vehicles from the public and government officials, and extortion from businessmen.

The group, which enjoys the support of the Meitei people in the State’s valley areas, gained prominence after ethnic riots between the Meitei and the tribal Kuki-Zo people erupted in the State on May 3, 2023.

Two days after Arambai Tenggol members attacked a senior police officer, the State Police said in a statement that the outfit is garnering false support from the public in the guise of protecting the people but are actually committing many anti-social activities and criminal acts.

More central forces

The presence of the Indian Army and other central security forces will be enhanced in the wake of the “Manipur Police being targeted”, the statement said. “Combing operations will continue in the days to come and no one responsible for such criminal activities will be spared. People should co-operate in police work,” it added.


Also read | Keep us out of your war, Manipur Naga body warns two warring communities

On February 28, the local administration in the valley and hill districts of Imphal, Bishnupur, Thoubal, Churachandpur, and Kangpokpi requisitioned reinforcements from the Assam Rifles, amidst the possibility of a “widespread breach of peace due to movement of armed miscreants and underground outfits”.

Earlier, Manipur civil society groups and legislators from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had demanded the removal of AT from Manipur, accusing it of partisan conduct.

Officer’s abduction “unprecedented”

The Manipur Police reaction comes days after Additional Superintendent of Police M. Amit Singh and his associate were attacked and abducted by Arambai Tenggol (AT) members after the arrest of AT’s Sekmai unit chief for allegedly snatching two vehicles from a government oil depot. Police described the incident as “unprecedented and unprovoked”.


Also read | Months after peace pact with United National Liberation Front, Manipur sees rise in extortion cases

On Thursday, a head constable identified as A. Kanan Singh, who allegedly helped the AT cadre launch the attack against the police officer, was suspended for “gross misconduct which is not expected from a member of a disciplined force like the police department.”

“The Manipur Police Department highly condemns the incident of life attempt on one of the Additional Superintendent of Police (Operations), Imphal West, other police officers and men in the evening of February 27 by members of Arambai Tengol. During the incident, the family members of Moirangthem Amit Singh were also intimidated by firing bullets, besides vandalising houses and properties,” police said.

‘Concocted narratives’

The officer was also abducted, beaten, and later released after intervention by the department. “In connection with this incident, numerous concocted narratives are being circulated on various platforms, including social media, leading to character assassination of the said officer and the police department as a whole. In this regard, it is important for right thinking people to understand the origin of events which have led to this unprecedented and unprovoked incident,” the statement said.

Police said that on the afternoon of February 27, information was received about two cars being stolen by unknown armed miscreants from the government oil depot. “Based on this information, the said officers, namely M. Amit Singh, Inspector P. Achouba Meitei, and other teams had conducted search and intercepted the two vehicles which were stolen/snatched, along with apprehension of one individual who was part of committing the crime,” police said.

“It is to state that the members of Arambai Tengol had carried out targeted attack on the above officers as well as attacked the house and properties of the ASP in connection with the above incident and for lawful discharge of duties. It is to be pointed out that the officers and others have been working tirelessly and contributing to the efforts to ensure law and order in the State, especially Imphal West District,” the statement said.

‘Neutral force’

It added that the police department has been putting all-out efforts to ensure law and order in the State, and appealed to the general public to extend their cooperation to the police department, requesting people to refrain from spreading rumours and circulating fake news.

“Manipur Police is also a neutral force and not acting against any community or in favour of one. Police is united top to bottom and any attack on anyone will be taken seriously and stringent action taken,” it said, adding that extensive combing operations had been conducted in both valley and hill districts on Wednesday night.

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