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People from violence-hit Manipur take shelter in Assam

In the wake of the ongoing unrest in Manipur, several families have crossed the border into Assam's Cachar district seeking shelter, authorities said on Friday.

Speaking to IANS, a Cachar district administration officer said: "Since Thursday evening, a number of people have come to take shelter. We have arranged temporary shelters at a few government schools in the Lakhipur sub-division area. Food and other necessary commodities have been provided to them."

According to the Cachar administration, at least 600 people have already crossed the border and have taken shelter.

"The people have crossed the Jiri river in Manipur and arrived in Cachar. The influx is continuing and we expect more people to arrive by today evening," the officer added.

Taking to Twitter early Friday morning, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said: "Several families affected by the recent incidents in Manipur have sought refuge in Assam. I have requested the district administration of Cachar to take care of these families."

Sarma also said that he was in constant communication with his counterpart in Manipur, N. Biren Singh and "have pledged the full support of the Assam government during this hour of crisis".

Meanwhile, Lakhipur MLA Kaushik Rai said: "We are taking care of all those who are seeking refuge in Cachar district from violence-hit Manipur. Many people also went to their relatives' houses in the Lakhipur area. Others are staying at camps."

Rai also mentioned that the majority people who have crossed the state border belong to the Kuki tribe.

The violence first erupted on Wednesday after thousands turned up for the 'Tribal Solidarity March' which took place across 10 hill districts of Manipur to oppose the demand for inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category.

Following the march, clashes, attacks, counter-attacks among different communities and burning of houses and shops took place in different districts, forcing authorities to suspend mobile internet services for five days, while a night curfew was also clamped in the tension-hit districts of iImphal West, Bishnupur, Jiribam, Tenugopal and Churachandpur.

In view of the prevailing violence, the Manipur government on Thursday authorised all District Magistrates, Sub-Divisional Magistrates and Executive Magistrates to issue "shoot at sight orders" in extreme cases.

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