Amit Shah's plea for peace: Lift blockades in Manipur for essential supplies

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New Delhi, Jun 04, 2023, IANS

Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister, who recently concluded a four-day visit to Manipur, which has been grappling with ethnic violence, has called upon the people of the state to lift the blockades on National Highway-2.

His appeal aims to facilitate the smooth transportation of essential items, fuel, and medicines to the region.

In a disconcerting turn of events, a fresh incident of violence occurred when alleged Kuki militants set fire to the residence of K. Ranjit, a sitting Congress MLA and former minister, in the Kakching district late on Saturday night.

Shah took to Twitter to urge the people of Manipur to remove the road blockades, stating, "My sincerest appeal to the people of Manipur is to lift the blockades at the Imphal-Dimapur, NH-2 Highway, so that food, medicines, petrol, diesel, and other necessary items can reach the people. I also request that Civil Society Organisations do the needful in bringing consensus. Together only we can restore normalcy in this beautiful state."

The landlocked state of Manipur relies on two crucial National Highways, Imphal-Dimapur (via Nagaland) and Imphal-Jiribam (via southern Assam), for the transportation of essential goods, food supplies, fuel, gas, and medicines from different parts of the country.

The demand for a separate Kuki land in Manipur has led to recurring blockades by suspected Kuki militant groups and their supporters.

These blockades, particularly on the Imphal-Dimapur Highway, have severely hindered the transportation of essential supplies into the state.

Furthermore, authorities in Imphal confirmed on Sunday that suspected armed Kuki militants had set ablaze the residence of Congress MLA Ranjit in the Serou area of Kakching district.

In response to this incident, massive combing operations have been initiated, and security forces are working to restore peace and normalcy.

The frequent attacks by Kuki militants on villages inhabited by the Meitei community have forced villagers to abandon their homes, seeking refuge in Sugnu, Kakching, and other locations in the Thoubal district.

A peace mission team, led by Y. Khemchandra, the Minister of Municipal Administration, Housing, and Urban Development, has been deployed in the region since Saturday to assist in restoring peace.

The Army, Assam Rifles, various Central Armed Police Forces, state police, and Manipur Rifles personnel continue to maintain vigilance and conduct operations in the 11 districts affected by unrest.

While curfews have been relaxed for 7-12 hours in most districts, including Imphal West and Imphal East, the districts of Tamenglong, Noney, Senapati, Ukhrul, and Kamjong are currently not under curfew.

Apart from the incident in Kakching district, no major acts of violence have been reported in the last 24 hours, according to the police. (Edited)