India
Amit Shah establishes probe on Manipur’s Ethnic Violence 

Amit Shah establishes probe on Manipur’s Ethnic Violence 

Describing the current unrest in Manipur as “ethnic violence,” Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister, declared on June 1 that a retired Chief Justice of a High Court would lead a judicial inquiry commission.

Amit Shah urged both parties to maintain peace and advised the public to be wary of spreading or believing in rumours. The commission has been tasked by the Centre to conduct an inquiry into the violence, examine its underlying factors, and determine accountability.

Appropriate measures: If the terms of the SoO agreement

During a press conference in Imphal, he delivered a warning to Kuki militant organizations, stating that severe measures would be taken if they violated the terms of the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement established in 2008. 

The SoO agreement had been officially implemented with two Kuki groups, namely the United Peoples’ Front (UPF) and the Kuki National Organisation (KNO), which acted as an umbrella organization for 24 insurgent groups. 

These groups had a combined total of 2,200 armed members, who were required by the SoO pact to surrender their weapons at designated camps. However, it was alleged that the Kuki groups had used these weapons against Meitei groups during clashes that began on May 3.

Amit Shah establishes probe on Manipur's Ethnic Violence
Image Source: The Hindu

Mr. Shah emphasized that he aimed to convey a strong message to the SoO groups, stating that any violations of the agreement would be treated seriously and closely monitored.

The Kuki groups have levelled allegations against the Meitei groups like Aarambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun, claiming that they have stolen firearms from police storage facilities in order to target tribal individuals. It is said that a total of 1,420 weapons have been stolen since May 3rd.

On Thursday, Mr. Shah made an appeal to the insurgents, urging them to hand over all weapons to the police. If they fail to do so, a thorough search operation will be initiated, and severe consequences will be imposed.

“I urge individuals in possession of weapons to promptly relinquish them. Starting tomorrow, the police will initiate a thorough search operation. Those involved should step forward and surrender their weapons to the authorities. Failure to comply will result in severe consequences. We are well aware of the individuals who currently possess these weapons,” stated Mr. Shah.

“A significant number of arms have already been seized. There is often a reluctance to use force against unruly groups. If the weapons are not surrendered, the search operation will commence,” he further emphasized.

HC judge to monitor probe by special CBI team

He stated that among all the cases that have been registered so far, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) would select five cases and initiate a general conspiracy case. Mr. Shah emphasized that the special CBI team would impartially investigate these cases.

He announced the formation of a peace committee, chaired by Governor Anusuya Uike, which would consist of prominent individuals and civil society groups.

He mentioned that multiple security agencies were actively operating in Manipur, and to facilitate collaboration among them, an inter-agency unified command, led by retired Central Police Reserve Force (CRPF) Director General Kuldeep Singh, was being established promptly. Mr. Singh was appointed as a security adviser by the Manipur government following the violence in May.

He acknowledged that the state of peace that had prevailed in Manipur for the past six years was disrupted in May due to a court ruling, and since then, “there have been some misunderstandings.”

The Manipur High Court issued a directive on March 27, instructing the State government to present a recommendation for including Meitis in the Scheduled Tribe list. They urged that the proposal be given priority and considered within a maximum of four weeks. 

However, this decision faced opposition from the current 34 scheduled tribes in Manipur, who make up 41% of the State’s population and predominantly reside in the hill districts. In response, a tribal solidarity rally took place in Churachandpur and other areas on May 3, which resulted in violent incidents. Consequently, several parts of the State are currently under curfew.

Regarding border security, Mr. Shah mentioned that fencing has been installed along a 10-kilometre stretch of the Manipur-Myanmar border, and an additional 80 kilometres will be fenced in the near future.

Situation in Manipur

Mr. Shah mentioned that the biometric data of individuals entering from the neighbouring country, including iris scans and thumb impressions, are being documented.

This statement was made in response to inquiries about unlawful migrants from Myanmar. India and Myanmar have a border agreement that allows for unrestricted movement between the two countries.

Furthermore, he announced the commencement of helicopter services in hilly regions, which will be available at a fee of ₹2,000 per person. These services can be utilized by individuals for transportation to airports or for intra-state travel.

While the State government will cover a portion of the expenses, the Central government will oversee and monitor the implementation of this program.

The hill-dwelling tribal communities have expressed their demand for air services to Aizawl and Guwahati, as they are reluctant to travel to the capital city of Imphal due to safety concerns.

He mentioned that a temporary railway platform will be operational in the coming days to ensure the uninterrupted supply of essential goods, despite road blockades.

He informed me that specialized medical teams have arrived in the state and will be visiting Moreh, Kangkokpi, and Churachandpur.

He also mentioned that virtual court hearings would be facilitated and online classes would be organized for students. It is worth noting that Manipur has been experiencing an Internet shutdown since May 3.

Senior IPS officer Rajiv Singh appointed as Manipur DGP

In the latest development, Rajiv Singh, a senior IPS officer, has been appointed as the new Director General of Police (DGP) in Manipur. 

This change comes as P. Doungel, the former DGP, has been reassigned to the position of OSD (Home) following an official order from the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

The order issued by the Ministry stated that Rajiv Singh, an IPS officer from the 1993 batch, will assume the role of DGP in Manipur without delay after joining the State Government, as directed by the Governor of Manipur.

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