In the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections on 19 April, violence disrupted voting in the Inner Manipur constituency despite stringent security measures.

As per a report in The Hindu, incidents of shooting were reported at a polling station in Thamanpokpi under the Moirang Assembly segment, leaving three people injured. This prompted authorities to reinforce security swiftly. Additionally, vandalism occurred at a polling station under the Thongju Assembly seat in Imphal East district.

Despite the heavy deployment of state forces and 162 companies of central armed police forces, the region witnessed multiple incidents of violence. Videos and photos circulating on social media depicted armed miscreants freely roaming and gunshots being fired near at least one polling station. According to Hindustan Times, one voter was reported to have sustained bullet wounds at a polling station under the Khurai assembly seat.

Pradeep Kumar Jha, the chief electoral officer of Manipur, stated, “There were few reports of violence, including one shooting incident involving members of two groups in Bishnupur. Damage to EVMs at several polling stations has also been reported. We are in the process of compiling all data.”

By 5 pm, approximately 70% of voting was reported, with figures expected to rise after final tabulation. However, many polling stations in Kangpokpi district remained deserted due to a boycott call by the Committee on Tribal Unity, a Kuki organization.

The ongoing ethnic clashes between the dominant Meiteis of the Imphal Valley and the tribal Kuki-Zo communities in the hill districts have plagued Manipur since May last year. The violence has resulted in 221 deaths and displaced around 50,000 people, further exacerbating tensions during the election period.

MTNews Desk

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