Amit Shah: Manipur’s peace, prosperity top priority; strictly deal with any activities causing disturbance

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IMPHAL: On his second day of visit to Manipur on Tuesday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held wide-ranging discussions with civil society organisations, a group of prominent personalities, intellectuals, retired Army officers and civil servants here in Imphal.

The Home Minister also reviewed the security situation with senior officials of the Manipur Police, Central Armed Police Forces and the Indian Army.

In the meeting with security personnel, Shah said, “peace and prosperity of Manipur is our top priority”, and instructed the officials to strictly deal with any activities disturbing the peace of the state”.

He also met a delegation of women leaders (Meira Paibis) in Imphal. Reiterating the significance of the role of women in the society of Manipur, the Home Minister said, “Together, we are committed to ensuring peace and prosperity in the state”.

The Home Minister further met delegations of civil society organisations such as COCOMI, AMUCO, AMOCOC, MMW, STDCM, FOCS, Forum for Restoration of Peace and student organisations. The delegations expressed their commitment to peace and assured that they will together contribute to paving the way to restore normalcy in Manipur.

Before leaving for Churachandpur, the Home Minister interacted with a group of prominent personalities, intellectuals, retired Army officers as well as civil servants. The delegates urged the Union Home Minister for effective intervention to restore peace and normalcy.

Amit Shah visited Churachandpur and held a meeting with prominent personalities and a delegation of civil society organisations. Later in the evening, Shah held an all-party meeting in Imphal.

The Home Minister will visit the Moreh and Kangpokpi areas of Manipur on Wednesday. He will interact with the delegations of various local groups in Moreh, followed by meeting with Civil Society Organisations in Kangpokpi. Later he will hold a security review meeting in Imphal.

Shah, who is on a four-day visit to Manipur till June 1, chaired a meeting with the Manipur Chief Minister and ministers of the state, senior leaders and officials soon after he arrived in Imphal on Monday evening and assessed the situation and chalk out a plan for further steps to restore normalcy in the region.

In that meeting, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, and Intelligence Bureau chief Tapan Deka among other officials concerned in the state as well as the Centre took part. The meeting was conducted as fresh violence hit the state a day ago. During his stay in Manipur till June 1, the Home Minister will hold several rounds of security meetings.

The visit was scheduled as five persons, including a Manipur police officer, were killed, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA’s house was vandalised and over 1,000 arms and ammunition were reportedly looted by a mob from armouries of Manipur Rifles and IRB on Sunday while combined Central and state security forces gunned down more than 30 suspected Kuki militants in the state in last 48 hours.

There are also reports of mob looting all arms and ammunition from the armouries of 7 Manipur Rifles at Khabeisoi, 2nd Manipur Rifles at Deulahane and 3rd India Reserve Battalion at Thoubal.

As per security forces, fierce encounters are on between suspected Kuki militants and security personnel at the Kadangband and nearby Singda areas in Imphal West district. Apart from attacking civilians in several foothills of Manipur, the militants also torched over 200 houses in three villages near Sugnu in Kakching district late on Saturday night.

On May 14-15, Home Minister Shah also held a series of meetings with Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh and representatives of Meitei and Kuki communities as well as other stakeholders to review the measures taken for restoring peace in the state.

Shah had also held a meeting with the representatives of the Kuki community from Manipur and a group of civil society organisations from Mizoram.

During the meetings, the Home Minister reviewed the measures taken for restoring peace in Manipur which has witnessed violent clashes between two ethnic communities. He then directed strict action against the perpetrators of violence and assured complete support and help of the central government for ensuring lasting peace.

Shah had then assured that the government will take all measures to protect various communities in the state, urged discussion with all factions and spread the message of peace and assured that justice would be done. He had also stressed on expediting the process of relief and rehabilitation so as to minimise the suffering of the people

On May 5, the Home Minister had reviewed the situation in Manipur through a video conference meeting with the state Chief Minister and top officials in the state as well as the Centre.

On May 4, Shah had also held two meetings via video-conferencing and spoke with the CMs of Manipur and neighbouring states including Nagaland, Mizoram and Assam, in view of the situation in Manipur.

Manipur faced violence on May 3 during a rally organised by the All Tribals Students Union (ATSU) to protest the demand for inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category. The march was organised in protest against the demand for inclusion of the state’s Meitei community in the ST category, following an April 19 Manipur High Court directive. (ANI)

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