Home minister Amit Shah meets Kuki leaders; victims' kin to get Rs 10 lakh

Churachandpur has witnessed some of the worst Meitei versus Kuki violence

Amit Shah

Amit Shah (Photo: PTI)

Archis MohanPTI New Delhi/Imphal

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On the second day of his four-day visit to Manipur, Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited Churachandpur district — which has seen some of the worst Meitei-Kuki violence since ethnic clashes broke out in the state on May 3 — to hold talks with Kuki civil society leaders on Tuesday.

Shah and senior Union home ministry officers met church leaders and intellectuals from the Kuki community. The government announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh, to be shared equally by the Centre and state government, to families of those killed in the conflict and a job for one family member. The decision followed the Monday late evening meeting between Shah and Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh. The meeting also decided to ensure a cooling down of prices of essential items such as petrol, LPG gas, rice and other food products.

On Tuesday, Shah met a group of women leaders, Meira Paibi, and “reiterated the significance of the role of women” in the society of Manipur. Shah also met a delegation of different civil society organisations in Imphal in the morning. Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and Director of the Intelligence Bureau Tapan Kumar Deka have also accompanied Shah to Imphal.

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and Congress leaders, including former Manipur chief minister Ibobi Singh, met President Droupadi Murmu in New Delhi and sought a high-level commission headed by a serving or retired Supreme Court judge to probe the violence, and handed a 12-point charter that could help restore peace. Later, Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh blamed the BJP-RSS’s “politics of divide and rule” for the current situation. He said this was the second time in the last 22 years that Manipur has burned. Ibobi Singh wondered why the PM and Shah remained silent so far, alleging the violence was allowed to continue.

Eleven leading sports personalities from Manipur, including Olympic medalist Mirabai Chanu, in a signed letter to Shah, urged him to find a solution to the ongoing crisis and threatened to return their awards and medals if “peace and normalcy” are not restored at the earliest. The signatories, including weightlifter Kunjarani Devi and boxer L Sarita Devi, demanded the unblocking of the National Highway-2. They also demanded the suspension of operations (SoO) agreements with “Kuki militant groups” be revoked.

Ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur after a May 3 ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ in the hill districts to protest the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status and preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.

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Meiteis account for 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mainly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals, Nagas and Kukis, constitute another 40 per cent and reside in the hill districts. The Mizoram government has sought Rs 5 crore assistance from the Centre to provide immediate relief to 8,000 people who have taken shelter in the state from Manipur. Around 10,000 security personnel have been deployed to restore normalcy in Manipur.

First Published: May 30 2023 | 8:41 PM IST

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