Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh on Sunday said it was time to move on from the violence and restore normalcy in the State.
There was no fight between communities but with the government, he told journalists at an event in the State’s capital Imphal.
“Past is past. Our mission now is to restore normalcy. There was no fight between communities. It (fight) was with the government. When any government anywhere tries to do something, there will always be acceptance or resistance,” he said.
Although Mr. Singh did not elaborate, his BJP-led government’s drives against alleged encroachment of forest land and poppy cultivation in the hills are said to be among the main reasons behind the violence that left more than 70 people dead and 35,000 homeless.
The anti-encroachment drive was seen as targeting of the primarily hill-dwelling Kuki tribe by a government allegedly controlled by the majority non-tribal Meitei people.
“Blame the government. We will rectify. Please do not make it an issue between communities,” Mr. Singh said.
The Chief Minister also said the government would reach out to the 10 Kuki legislators, including seven from the ruling BJP, who had demanded a “separate administration” for their community.
“The Kuki MLAs are a part of our family. Manipur is a small but unique State with 34-35 recognised tribes, including the Kukis. We are all brothers and sisters,” he said.
Study, sports material
On Sunday, the State government decided to distribute pens, pencils, notebooks, uniforms, and sports materials to 4,747 schoolchildren internally displaced by the violence. They are among 26,000 people who are still lodged across 178 temporary relief camps.
Manipur’s Education Minister Th Basantakumar Singh said the government would ask teachers to volunteer. They would organise coaching classes at the relief camps.
The violence broke out on May 3 after a “Tribal Solidarity March” in 10 tribal-majority hill districts to oppose the move for inclusion of Meiteis, Manipur’s largest community, in the Scheduled Tribe list.
Later in the day, the State’s Home Department issued an order extending the ban on mobile phone internet and broadband services for five more days until 3 p.m. on May 26.