Union home minister Amit Shah held a series of whirlwind meetings after landing in Manipur late on Monday evening. He has already met the ministers and the Governor of the state, which is being ravaged by ethnic violence for nearly a month.
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Amit Shah has met Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s council of ministers and Governor Anusuiya Uikey. He is also likely to be briefed by the state’s top security officials. His meetings are likely to continue till late, sources said.
Mr Shah is likely to stay in the violence-hit state for the next few days and meet all the stakeholders — top army officials, civil society organisations and influential community leaders — to finalise a strategy to curb the ethnic violence.
Top officials said Mr Shah may visit some of the districts populated by both Meities and Kuki tribals, who have been in conflict since May 3. Some of these districts are located on the Myanmar borders.
Except for some minor incidents, there was no major incident of violence reported in the 11 hill districts on Monday. On Sunday, at least five people, including a policeman, were killed and 12 others injured after fresh violence.
Alleged terrorists, carrying sophisticated weapons, had set fire to many houses in Serou and Sugunu area. The Army, Central Para-Military, Manipur Police commando, Rapid Action Force of Manipur police personnel are still conducting combing operations in the Imphal valley and surrounding districts.
Civilians living in the outskirts of Imphal Valley are being evacuated by the security personnel. Around 140 columns of the Indian Army and Assam Rifles, comprising around 10,000 personnel, had to be deployed to curb the violence and bring normalcy in the northeastern state.
Earlier on Monday, Chief Minister N Biren Singh and Mr Shah’s deputy Nityanand Rai reviewed the security situation along with top officials. The Chief Minister has said that over the last couple of days, “40 terrorists” have been shot dead.
Manipur has been witnessing ethnic clashes connected to multiple issues for more than a month. It started with tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which led to a series of smaller agitations.
On May 3, clashes had broken out in the hill state after tribals organised a solidarity march on to protest against the Meiteis’ demand for Scheduled Tribe status. More than 80 people died in the violence that had simmered for over a week. Property worth crores was torched and thousands were forced to leave their homes.
Though Meities comprise 64 per cent of the state’s population, they occupy 10 per cent of the state’s territory as non-tribals are not allowed to buy land in notified hill areas. Their inclusion in the ST category will enable them to purchase land and the possibility has upset the tribals.
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