Amit Shah to visit Manipur soon to hold talks to restore peace

The Union Home Minister laments the ethnic violence in the State “caused by a High Court judgment” 

Updated - May 26, 2023 01:56 am IST

Published - May 25, 2023 07:54 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Union Home Minister Amit Shah addresses during the inauguration of ‘Assam Police Seva Setu’ in Guwahati on May 25, 2023.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah addresses during the inauguration of ‘Assam Police Seva Setu’ in Guwahati on May 25, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

GUWAHATI

Union Home Minister, Amit Shah on May 25 said he will soon visit strife-torn Manipur for three days to speak to various stakeholders for ensuring lasting peace. 

Speaking at a programme in Guwahati, Assam to lay the foundation stone of a National Forensic Science University (NFSU) in Assam, he lamented the violence “caused by a (Manipur) High Court judgement”. 

At least 71 people lost their lives, more than 1,700 houses were destroyed and 35,000 displaced after violence broke out on May 3. The immediate trigger was said to be a high court order recommending a push for granting Scheduled Tribe status to the majority Meitei community. 

Also read: Amit Shah slams Congress for boycott of Parliament inauguration 

“Only the people of Manipur can bring back peace by removing distrust and discussing with the government. A high court judgment led to the violence but we can ensure peace through talks,” Mr Shah said, asserting that the Narendra Modi-led Centre would deliver justice and not spare all those involved in spreading hatred and violence. 

Earlier in the day, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh criticised Mr Shah for not visiting Manipur yet. “The Union Home Minister goes all the way to Guwahati today, but does not deem it fit to visit Imphal when Manipur has been burning for 22 days. This is the same Union Home Minister who held 16 rallies and 15 road shows in Karnataka, but cannot find time for the people of Manipur who are suffering a lot due to the ideology and politics of the so-called Double Engine Sarkar,” he said in a tweet.

The day also saw 15 Manipur MLAs reach Guwahati to discuss with Mr Shah the “problems created” by extremist groups under a suspension of operations (SoO) agreement with the government. 

The 15 included 10 belonging to the Kuki-Zomi tribal group, Manipur’s Education Minister Th. Basantakumar and Assembly Speaker Th. Satyabrata.  

Earlier, Education Minister of Manipur Th. Basantakumar said a team of MLAs will meet Mr. Shah in Guwahati to discuss the “problems created” by extremist groups under a suspension of operations (SoO) agreement with the government. 

Fifteen MLAs of Manipur, including 10 belonging to the Kuki-Zomi tribal group, reached Guwahati on Thursday to meet Mr. Shah. Among the other five is Manipur Assembly Speaker Th. Satyabrata. 

“Thirty-four MLAs had signed a petition and submitted to the Home Minister seeking a review of the SoO agreement and making the armed militants return to their designated camps. We are taking up this issue with him in view of the problems created by these militants for the government and the people,” Mr. Basantakumar said. 

Aim to up crime conviction rate

Mr. Shah said the government was focusing on strengthening the network of NFSUs in India with the objective of increasing the criminal conviction rate to at least 85%. 

“(Chief Minister) Himanta Biswa Sarma said the criminal conviction rate in Assam has increased from 5% to 14% in the last two years because of the emphasis on forensic science. But our aim is to ensure at least an 85% rate of conviction across the country,” the Home Minister said. 

He cited the conviction rates of Israel (93%), the United States (90%), and the United Kingdom (85%) to justify the target. 

“Third-degree measures are not required today because forensic science can be more effective for the criminal justice system,” Mr. Shah said. 

He said the NFSU in Assam, to start from its temporary campus within the Guwahati Medical College Hospital, would be the 11th in the world and 10th in India. It would cater to the forensic requirements of neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal, besides the eight northeastern States, he added.

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