After meeting Amit Shah, Manipur CM Biren Singh says will reach out to Kukis

Union Home Minister instructs Manipur Chief Minister to crack down on violence irrespective of the community involved, asks to arrange for a talk with the women’s group Meira Paibis

Updated - June 26, 2023 09:01 am IST

Published - June 25, 2023 05:27 pm IST - New Delhi

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh called on Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on June 25, 2023. Twitter/@NBirenSingh

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh called on Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on June 25, 2023. Twitter/@NBirenSingh

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said on June 25 that the Kuki community was among his own and fresh round of dialogue will be initiated with all stakeholders in the violence-hit State.

Mr. Singh was in Delhi to meet Home Minister Amit Shah where he briefed him “about the evolving situation on the ground in Manipur.” At least 131 people have been killed since ethnic violence between the tribal Kuki and Meitei communities erupted in the State on May 3 displacing 60,000 people.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Singh said he had a detailed discussion with Mr. Shah who advised him to establish peace in the State and revive dialogue across communities including with the women group-the Meira Paibis and civil society organisations.

“We will reach out to everyone, including the Kuki community. They are also ours. The home minister advised us to work as a team and bring peace to the State,” Mr. Singh said.

The Meira Paibis have been leading protests and blockades, at times obstructing the security forces from carrying out operations. On Saturday, twelve members of a banned extremist outfit detained by the army had to be released as a 1200-strong women-led group surrounded the security forces in Imphal East, the army said.

Mr. Shah is learnt to have told the Chief Minister that he needs to speak to the women groups as it was becoming a problem for the security forces.

The Chief Minister was told that cannot be seen to be having sympathy for any particular community and the crackdown on violence has to begin irrespective of the community involved.

“The chief minister was told that he has to drive home the point among the Meitei that Kukis will be reached out to. He has to convince the people and take care of the State in a bipartisan manner,” the source said. Ten Kuki legislators from the hill districts of Manipur, including seven from the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) have demanded Mr. Singh’s resignation.

Mr. Singh said Internet was unlikely to be restored soon as the situation was not conducive and relaxation in curfew hours was being given in many areas. He said there were enough central security forces in the State and additional force was not required.

Also Read | Manipur government may set up internet kiosks across the State for limited access

Mr. Singh was accompanied by BJP Manipur in-charge Sambit Patra, Rajya Sabha member Sanajaoba Leishemba and State assembly Speaker Satyabrata Singh. Director, Intelligence Bureau Tapan Kumar Deka was also present in the meeting which comes a day after Mr.Shah chaired an all-party meeting on the issue where members demanded Mr. Singh’s resignation.

Mr. Singh tweeted that under Mr. Shah’s close supervision, the State and Central Government have been able to control the violence to a great extent in the past week. “It may be noted that there has been no report of casualties due to the violence since 13th of June,” he said.

“Hon’ble Union HM has assured that the central government will take all possible steps to bring normalcy in Manipur. Further, Amit Shah Ji advised us to strengthen our work towards achieving everlasting peace and also sought the cooperation of every stakeholders in Manipur to ensure that peace prevails in the State,” the tweet said.

In a presentation at the all-party meeting on Saturday, the Union Home Ministry said that since May 3, as many as 5,036 cases of arson have been reported, 5,889 FIRs have been registered and 144 arrests made. Around 36,000 security personnel have been deployed in the State, while 40 IPS officers and 20 medical teams have been sent to Manipur. Around 1,800 weapons out of over 4,000 weapons looted from police armouries have been returned.

Also Read The Hindu Editorial | Overkill: On the Internet shutdown in Manipur

The Ministry cited three primary reasons for the violence — legacy issues, infiltration from Myanmar and the March 27 Manipur High Court order directing the State government to submit a recommendation for the inclusion of Meitei in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list. The violence escalated after a Tribal Solidarity March was organised in Churachandpur and other hill districts to protest the High Court order on May 3. At least 131 people have been killed and 60,000 people displaced since then.

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