Three months after violence broke out in Manipur, chief minister N Biren Singh used the occasion of Independence Day to make a fervent appeal for peace and a return to the path of development. He also blamed “forces from outside” for the ethnic violence in the state and said the war against drugs would continue.
“By forgiving and forgetting, we can live harmoniously and continue our journey on the path of development, which we have lost for the past three months,” Mr Singh said while hoisting the tricolour during the 77th Indian Independence Day celebrations in Imphal today.
“The violence won’t bring any development. If there was any misunderstanding and miscommunication among the communities, we can sit across the table and discuss all the shortcomings. For this, our door is always open,” he added.
The chief minister asserted that, as part of the Indian Union and strictly following its constitutional provisions, his government has been working continuously for the betterment and upliftment of the state, both in the hills and valleys.
“However, some vested interests and forces from outside tried to destabilise our peace-loving state and country,” he claimed.
Mr Singh said his government has never done, and would never do, anything that would be against the Constitution. If it did, his government would not survive even for a moment, he said.
Appealing to citizens to end the violence, the chief minister said his government will continue its war against drugs and its efforts to detect and detain all illegal immigrants as per constitutional provisions.
“This should not be against any individual or community. If there is any misunderstanding or miscommunication, we can discuss it collectively, so that we can bring peace and continue our journey of development. We must continue to strive for inclusivity, justice, and equality for all citizens,” said Mr Singh.
“My commitment to you, my fellow citizens, is to work tirelessly for your well-being, to create avenues for growth and empowerment, and to uphold the values that define our nation,” he added.
Over 180 people have lost their lives and more than 3,000 have been injured in the violence in Manipur, which began on May 3, when a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe status. More than 60,000 people remain displaced and property worth thousands of crores has been destroyed.
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