Amit Shah appeals for 15-day peace in Manipur

Home Minister meets Kuki civil society groups in Churachandpur district; Centre likely to announce a judicial inquiry commission headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to probe violence in the State

Updated - May 31, 2023 01:09 pm IST

Published - May 30, 2023 01:37 pm IST - New Delhi/Guwahati

Union Home Minister Amit Shah meets prominent persons and a delegation of civil society organisations in Manipur’s Churachandpur on May 30, 2023. Photo: Twitter/@HMOIndia via PTI

Union Home Minister Amit Shah meets prominent persons and a delegation of civil society organisations in Manipur’s Churachandpur on May 30, 2023. Photo: Twitter/@HMOIndia via PTI

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday appealed for 15-day peace in Manipur in a meeting with Kuki civil society groups in Churachandpur district, a member of the Kuki group said.

The Centre is likely to announce a judicial inquiry commission headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to probe the violence in Manipur, Muan Tombing, general secretary of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) told The Hindu.

“The Home Minister said peace be given a chance for the next 15 days for a solution to be achieved. He said the Centre will appoint a judicial commission and separate teams will visit Imphal and Churachandpur during the period. We assured the Minister that we will not attack any group but if attacked, we will defend ourselves,” Mr. Tombing said. He said Mr. Shah promised a Central Bureau of Investigation probe. He said the Kuki groups pressed for President’s Rule and reiterated demand for a separate administration from Manipur.

“The Minister asked us to surrender arms, but we told him that these are licensed weapons to defend ourselves. We told him that till Meitei groups — the Aarambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun — surrendered the weapons looted from police armoury, we will not lay down arms,” Mr. Tombing said. After the May 3 violence, as many as 1,420 weapons were looted from police camps, out of which more than 500 have been recovered so far.

Watch | Climate of fear still lingers in Manipur 

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Peace, top priority

A statement by the Home Ministry said the Minister, at a review meeting with senior officials of the Manipur police, Central armed police forces and the Army, said “peace and prosperity of Manipur is top priority” and instructed them to strictly deal with any activities disturbing peace.

The Centre and the Manipur government have decided to equally share ₹10 lakh to be given as compensation to the next of kin of each person killed during the ethnic violence in the State that broke out on May 3. Officials in Manipur said a decision was also taken to provide a government job to eligible kin of those killed in the violence. The decision was taken in a meeting between Mr. Shah and the State’s Council of Ministers headed by Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh. Helpline numbers will be set up in Imphal and Churachandpur to dispel rumours.

Mr. Shah met members of the civil society organisations and a group of women leaders of the Meitei community in Imphal and Kuki-Zo groups in Churachandpur district on the second day of his visit to Manipur on Tuesday. While the Chief Minister was present in meetings in Imphal, he did not accompany Mr. Shah to the hill region of Churachandpur. P Doungel, Director General of Police, Manipur, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and Director, Intelligence Bureau Tapan Kumar Deka were also present in the meetings.

Mr. Shah arrived in Imphal on Monday, his first visit since the State was engulfed by ethnic clashes claiming more than 75 lives so far.

Mr. Shah said he had a fruitful discussion with the members of different civil society organisations in Imphal. “They expressed their commitment to peace and assured that we would together contribute to paving the way to restore normalcy in Manipur,” the Home Minister said, adding that he met a group of women leaders (Meira Paibi) in Manipur. “Reiterated the significance of the role of women in the society of Manipur. Together, we are committed to ensuring peace and prosperity in the State,” he said.

Mr. Shah will travel to Moreh and Kangkokpi to meet the tribal groups on Wednesday. He will be in Manipur till June 1.

New officer posted

Meanwhile the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) deputed 1993-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Rajiv Singh, who is currently posted as Inspector General, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), to Manipur. In a May 29 order, the MHA said Mr. Singh is transferred from Tripura cadre to Manipur cadre for a period of three years in relaxation of the policy as a “special case in public interest.”

Manipur DGP Mr. Doungel, a 1987 batch IPS officer, is set to superannuate next month. It is likely that Mr. Singh will replace him for the top job, Earlier, the Manipur government had appointed former CRPF Director General Kuldiep Singh as security adviser.

In a memorandum to Mr. Shah, the influential Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) said the bifurcation of Manipur could never be accepted.

The Imphal Valley is central to the economy and ethnic composition of Manipur where 35 communities have had a history of interdependence, but the social fabric has been disturbed by a “demographic invasion” by the Kuki-Chin people from Myanmar, the COCOMI said.

Slamming the 10 Kuki MLAs for demanding a separate administration, the organisation blamed “narco-terrorists” hit by the Manipur government’s drive against drugs for the unrest. “There can be no solution before the narco-terrorist aggressors are uprooted from the soil of Manipur,” the COCOMI said.

Ground Zero | The embers of Meitei-Kuki conflict still glow 

The organisation also demanded immediate rehabilitation of all the Meitei and Kuki families to their respective homes by providing them with adequate security and arranging mutual protection of each other’s groups by civil society volunteers and members of NGOs.

New officer posted

Meanwhile the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) deputed 1993-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Rajiv Singh, who is currently posted as Inspector General, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), to Manipur. In a May 29 order, the MHA said Mr. Singh is transferred from Tripura cadre to Manipur cadre for a period of three years in relaxation of the policy as a “special case in public interest.”

Manipur DGP Mr. Doungel, a 1987 batch IPS officer, is set to superannuate next month. It is likely that Mr. Singh will replace him for the top job, Earlier, the Manipur government had appointed former CRPF Director General Kuldiep Singh as security adviser.

In a memorandum to Mr. Shah, the influential Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) said the bifurcation of Manipur could never be accepted.

The Imphal Valley is central to the economy and ethnic composition of Manipur where 35 communities have had a history of interdependence, but the social fabric has been disturbed by a “demographic invasion” by the Kuki-Chin people from Myanmar, the COCOMI said.

Slamming the 10 Kuki MLAs for demanding a separate administration, the organisation blamed “narco-terrorists” hit by the Manipur government’s drive against drugs for the unrest. “There can be no solution before the narco-terrorist aggressors are uprooted from the soil of Manipur,” the COCOMI said.

The organisation also demanded immediate rehabilitation of all the Meitei and Kuki families to their respective homes by providing them with adequate security and arranging mutual protection of each other’s groups by civil society volunteers and members of NGOs.

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