Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan
The Committee on Tribal Unity (COTU) identified the deceased as 38-year-old Henminlen Vaiphei and 26-year-old Thangminlun Hangshing. Vaiphei was a police official with the 6th India Reserve Battalion, according to local media reports.
Both of the deceased reportedly belonged to the Kuki-Zo community. The tribal group alleged that they had been killed by the members of the Meitei community in the Kangchup area.
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), the apex body for the Kuki-Zo, said that the deceased killed in the recent violence were repairing the Lamka-Kangpokpi road that had been damaged by the recent spell of rain.
After dropping off their friends at a designated point, they were ambushed while attempting to return to Leimakhong, a mere 50 metres from where they had left their friends.
Since the victims and their friends were unarmed, they were reportedly unable to defend themselves.
'Tribals No Longer Safe Under Partisan Govt'
At an emergency meeting held at Kanggui, the CoTU condemned the “unprovoked attack…by the war-mongering Meitei insurgents."
The organisation declared a shutdown in the Kangpokpi district to convey to the Centre that Kuki-Zo tribals are no longer safe "under the partisan government."
According to the COTU, the group responsible for the killings is the same group of disguised insurgents operating in Moreh, a border town in Tengnoupal district.
COTU alleged various atrocities had been committed by this group, including the looting of church funds, torching vehicles, harassing women and children, and demolishing houses.
Last month, a Manipur police officer overseeing the construction of a helipad in Moreh was shot dead by suspected militants.
More than 180 people have been killed since the violence erupted on 3 May after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.