Tension at Hongbei eases after talks break impasse

UKHRUL, 25th Apr: Tension that had been building up over the last two days at Hongbei, has reportedly eased following successful talks between Manipur Police and Naga CSOs on Saturday, resulting in reopening of the blocked tri-junction road till Kasom Khullen headquarters.
However, the situation at Bungdung village under the block, continued to reel under uncertainty with the possibility of standoff between Assam Rifles and NSCN-IM taking place any time there. Kungkum village, where the Naga outfit is said to be stationed, is situated about some kilometres away from Bungdung village, off Kasom block headquarters.
According to sources, a fresh round of meeting was held on Saturday between officers of Manipur Police, led by IGP IK Muivah and leaders of various Naga civil societies including UNC, TNL, ANSAM, NWU, TSL and others to resolve the standoff at Hongbei junction which local womenfolk had blocked to bar entry of security forces since April 23. Sources informed that the meeting culminated in mutual understanding and subsequently, the locals allowed the state police team to cross the junction road by clearing the blockade till Kasom Khullen block where there is a state police station.
Meanwhile, Phungyar MLA Leishiyo Keishing who arrived at the spot soon after the agreement, headed to Kasom headquarters accompanied by a state police team led by IG IK Muivah, DIG Kabib and others. However, they cancelled the initial plan to visit Bungdung village which is situated beyond the headquarters.
MLA Leishiyo Keishing and the police team halted for some time at Kasom police station and left for Imphal later in the evening, sources added.
However, as per the agreement, Assam Rifles troops who were at Hongbei junction were not allowed to proceed beyond the village, sources continued.
Hongbei tri-junction which is the entry point of the subdivision became a hotspot of confrontation soon after a large number of Assam Rifles troops showed up at Bungdung village in a bid to proceed towards Kangkum village. Hongbei and Bungdung villages are said to about 35 kilometres apart.
According to sources, the situation at Bungdung village is still uncertain due to presence of Assam Rifles post at the village.

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