The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Manipur government and the state's police chief following reports of a deadly gunfight resulting in at least 13 casualties in Leithao village, Tengnoupal district. The NHRC expressed concern over the incident, stating that it reflects a "lapse" on the part of law enforcement agencies and the forces responsible for maintaining peace and order in the state.
According to the NHRC, the reported loss of lives in an area that had remained calm since tensions arose in May this year is "alarming and disturbing." The rights panel took suo motu cognisance of media reports indicating that the gunfight occurred on December 4 in Leithao village near Saibol.
In response to these developments, the NHRC has issued notices to Manipur's chief secretary and director general of police, requesting a detailed report within two weeks. The report is expected to include information on the status of the FIR registered by the police and the measures taken by the state government to prevent similar incidents of violence.
The statement acknowledged the suffering of Manipur and its people and stressed the need for proactive measures to prevent violence.
The NHRC has been actively addressing human rights violations in Manipur since May 2023, receiving complaints from individuals, NGOs, and activists. These matters are currently under consideration by the full bench of the commission. The statement revealed that discussions on these issues took place during a camp sitting in Guwahati, Assam, on November 17, with the involvement of senior officers from the government of Manipur and representatives of complainants and civil society.
The media report, dated December 5, highlighted that the village affected by the violence had nine houses and approximately 120 residents, with no reported casualties among the villagers. There are suspicions that the victims could be militants from Myanmar, considering the nearby hills as a common route for their entry into Manipur. This incident marks the highest single-day loss of life in the violence that has erupted in Manipur throughout the year.