Imphal, May 29, 2023, IANS
Union Home Minister Amit Shah reached Manipur on Monday night, embarking on a three-to-four-day visit to engage in discussions with key stakeholders. The primary objective is to devise effective strategies to quell the ongoing ethnic violence that has plagued the northeastern state since May 3.
Government officials in Imphal revealed that Shah is likely to visit several districts, including those situated along the Myanmar border, known for their diverse populations.
Immediately upon arrival, Shah convened a meeting with the council of ministers led by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, to deliberate on the prevailing situation in Manipur.
Last week, Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande and Eastern Command Army chief Lt Gen R.P. Kalita separately visited the sensitive districts, engaging in discussions with Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, Chief Security Advisor to Manipur Kuldiep Singh, leaders of civil society groups, and influential community leaders.
Earlier on Monday, the Chief Minister, along with Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai and other senior officials, assessed the security situation in the state.
With the exception of minor incidents, no major acts of violence were reported in the 11 hill districts on Monday.
The curfew, which was imposed following the outbreak of ethnic violence in 11 out of the 16 districts on May 3, remains in effect, encompassing Imphal East and Imphal West.
Meanwhile, the Indian Army, Central paramilitary forces, Manipur Police commandos, and the Rapid Action Force continued combing operations in the Imphal valley and surrounding districts on Monday, according to an official.
Approximately 140 columns of the Indian Army and Assam Rifles, comprising around 10,000 troopers, have been deployed to restore peace and normalcy in the troubled state.
Meanwhile, Nityanand Rai, who has been stationed in Manipur since May 25, visited several districts and held a series of meetings with various civil society groups, influential community leaders, and ordinary citizens from different communities.
Addressing the media in Imphal, Rai emphasized that the unrest would hamper development and welfare initiatives in the state. He further asserted that all grievances, demands, and issues would be resolved through dialogue, urging people from different communities to place their trust in the government and renounce violence.
Defense sources revealed that in response to specific intelligence about the presence of armed individuals intending to launch attacks on security forces in the City Convention Centre area of Imphal East district, the Army mobilized its forces on Sunday night, establishing multiple mobile vehicle check-posts (MVCP).
During the operation, a suspicious passenger car approached one of the check-posts with four occupants. Upon being challenged, the miscreants attempted to flee but were apprehended. The subsequent search of the vehicle led to the recovery of an INSAS rifle with a magazine, 60 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunition, a Chinese hand grenade, and a detonator.
The miscreants were later handed over to the police.
The state has witnessed widespread ethnic clashes, resulting in over 75 deaths and more than 300 injuries thus far. The clashes erupted across 11 districts following a "Tribal Solidarity March" on May 3, organized to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
The ethnic violence followed earlier agitations and tensions over the government's eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve and protected forest lands. (Edited)