Since May 3, ethnic violence between the Meiteis and the Kukis has erupted throughout Manipur. Counting the 13 deaths on Monday, the clashes have claimed at least 182 lives and left about 50,000 people homeless.
— Hemir Desai (@hemirdesai) December 5, 2023
In this case, a newspaper clip stating, “Thirteen suspected hardcore militants from Myanmar who infiltrated into Manipur were ambushed by their ‘rivals’ from the hills,” is widely shared. The headline for this news is mentioned as “Dead from Myanmar.” The poster was shared by multiple users to claim that hardcore terrorists from Myanmar were killed in Manipur by unknown men. Similar claims can be seen here, here, and here.
What’s the truth?
Using simple Google reverse image search of the viral newspaper clip we found an article from ‘The Times of India’ dated December 5 titled “13 killed in gunfight between 2 groups in strife-torn Manipur.” We discovered the same widely shared newspaper poster within the article as we were reading it.
Likewise, when we advanced our search we also got another article from ‘The Times of India’ dated December 5 stating that, “there is no official information on the identities of the killed and the killers, a security source said that the dead are suspected to be hardcore cadres of a Myanmar-based insurgent group who were ambushed by rivals from the hills after infiltrating into Manipur.”
Then we intensified our search using relevant keywords on Google like “13 people died in Manipur” we came across an article published by the Indian Express on 5 December 2023 titled as ‘‘Our worst nightmare’: 13 men found dead in Manipur identified, came from across valley districts.’
According to the article, “Security forces had found the bullet-riddled bodies of the 13 Meitei men in Leithu – a forested area not far from the Myanmar border – on Monday after receiving inputs of a gunfight in the area around 10.30 am.”
The article further added “The bodies were taken to the Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences in Imphal East, and on Tuesday, their identities were established. According to officials, the men are aged between 17 and 47, and come from valley districts of Bishnupur, Imphal West, Imphal East, and Kakching.” These are districts of Manipur. This information confirms that the thirteen men who lost their lives were not terrorists from Myanmar, but rather Meitei community members from Manipur.
Thus, we conclude that the viral newspaper cutting from TOI stating that the unknown men killed 13 hardcore terrorists from Myanmar is misleading. In reality, the deceased 13 people belong to the Meitei community from Manipur.