Today's Editorial

Today's Editorial - 24 June 2023

Measures for Manipur violence

Source: By The Indian Express

Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced that a probe panel led by a retired High Court judge will investigate the recent violence in Manipur that led to the death of at least 80 people and left several injured. He said the reasons behind the month-long bout of violence and those responsible for it will be probed.

Shah held a press conference towards the end of his four-day visit in the state that began on 29 May 2023, and announced several measures for the state. He met victims from both the Meitei and Kuki communities of the state a day earlier in relief camps, assuring them of adequate security, and said the government’s focus is to ensure their safe return home.

What is happening in Manipur?

Ethnic clashes broke out in the state nearly a month ago after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The trigger for the violent clashes was a contentious order of the Manipur High Court that boosted a longstanding demand by the valley-dwelling Meiteis to be designated as a ST in order to protect their “ancestral landtraditionsculture and language”. Protests by tribal groups such as the Kukis against the HC order in all the hill districts on 3 May 2023 led to violence, first in Kuki-dominated Churachandpur, and then in the Imphal valley.

After a relative lull for over a fortnight, the state witnessed a spurt in clashes and gunfights between militants and security forces. Officials in Manipur said that there had been a direct confrontation between armed militants and the Manipur Police in five different areas on the outskirts of Imphal Valley.

Amid ethnic tension in the state, IPS officer Rajiv Singh of the Tripura cadre (1993 batch), was given charge of the post of Director General of Police (DGP) in Manipur on 29 May 2023.

What has Amit Shah announced regarding the situation in Manipur?

Shah said during his visit he went to temporary shelters, he visited Imphal, Moreh, Churachandpur, and Kangpokpi, and spoke to cabinet members, leaders of 11 political organisationswomen’s organisationsMeitiei and Kuki civil society organisations, professors and retired officers. Apart from the formation of the probe panel, he announced some other measures:

Under the chairmanship of Manipur governor Anusuiya Uikey, the Indian government will form a peace committee which will have “representation of everyone – industrialists, sportspersons, political party’s representatives, elected representatives and those from civil society organisations.

For better coordination between security agencies in the state, security advisor Kuldiep Singh, Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force, will oversee an inter-agency unified command.

Of the cases of violence that have been registered, six have been selected for investigation by a special CBI team. This includes one case for the charge of general conspiracy.

relief and rehabilitation package has been readied. For every person who has lost their life, Rs 10 lakhs will be given (with half of the amount by the Central government and the other by the Manipur government). Their family members will receive it via Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) into their bank accounts. For those who have been injured or suffered a loss of property, a detailed announcement on this will come from the Central government tomorrow.

Joint Secretary-level officer and five Director-level officers will be present here to monitor these works.

Fencing of around 10 km of the Myanmar-Manipur border has been done and tendering has been done for 80 km of the border. The survey work for the rest of its length will be started. Biometric and eye scans of those coming from abroad will be carried out, so that there is no “violence caused by instigation.

Shah said 30,000 metric-tonne of rice will be provided to Manipur for the next two months. Gas, petrol and vegetables will also be brought in. For their distribution, along with existing shops selling cheaper grains, a camp will also be opened where people can get food items through both ration cards and by purchasing them. Medicines will be made available here. Some 15 petrol pumps will be kept open during the night and day.

To address the issues of holding competitive exams and to keep educational institutions going, a plan is also being formulated and will be out in two days. Options such as online education are being discussed. For courts too, virtual hearings and appearances are being planned.

From MorehChurachandpur and Kangpokpi, a helicopter service will help in transportation, at the cost of Rs 2,000 per person to take people to the airport. The cost will be borne by the state and central government.