As part of his mission to broker a lasting peace in the troubled Manipur state, Union Home Minister Amit Shah Tuesday met a cross section of Kuki and Meitei leaders and civil society groups besides top security officers to seek a solution to the spate of ethnic clashes which has plagued the state.
Shah on Tuesday also visited Churachandpur, the scene of some of the worst rioting in the recent ethnic conflict which broke out in Manipur earlier to hold talks with Kuki leaders.
He also held a series of discussions with different Meitei groups, women and prominent personalities earlier during the day in Imphal before flying to Kuki-dominated Churachandpur district.
Later in the night, he also held an all party meeting and a meeting with the top brass of central police forces, Manipur police and the army and ask them to ensure peace.
In Imphal, Shah held consultations on Tuesday with stakeholders starting with a breakfast meeting with a group of women leaders at Raj Bhavan as part of his initiative to bring peace to the violence-hit state.
"Held a meeting with a group of women leaders (Meira Paibi) in Manipur. Reiterated the significance of the role of women in the society of Manipur. Together, we are committed to ensuring peace and prosperity in the state," Shah tweeted.
According to a home ministry spokesperson, Shah had a (separate) meeting with prominent personalities in Imphal in the morning who assured their commitment to peace and also conveyed that they would work towards restoring peace in the state.
After that he met several CSO groups and prominent personalities from the Meitei community at the Secretariat before leaving for Churachandpur.
"Had a fruitful discussion with the members of the different civil society organisations today in Imphal.
They expressed their commitment to peace and assured that we would together contribute to paving the way to restore normalcy in Manipur," he added.
After meeting Shah, Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) coordinator Jeetendra Ningomba said they requested the Union Home Minister to take appropriate measures to protect the territorial and administrative integrity of the state.
He said that Shah had assured the delegation of no compromise on Manipur's territorial integrity.
Another group award winning international and national sportspersons from Manipur who included Anita Chanu and N Kunjrani Devi on Tuesday tried to meet him and later said at a press conference that they will return the prizes given to them by the government if the state's territorial integrity is compromised.
Shah who was accompanied by the IB chief and Home Secretary, held three rounds of talks with various groups such as Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF), Kuki Students' Organisation (KSO) and other civil society organisations. He also met five Kuki MLAs from the BJP.
The Home Minister requested the Kuki society to maintain peace and assured he would send in more security personnel if needed to ensure the safety of common people, he added.
ITLF secretary Muan Tombing told PTI, "He (Shah) told us that the CBI will be entrusted with carrying out a detailed probe to find out the reasons behind this prolonged clash. Besides, a judicial enquiry will also be announced."
Tombing said his group "demanded separation from Manipur" as also sought "President's Rule" in the state.
After coming back from Churachandpur, Shah Later in the evening, held an all-party meeting in Imphal. The Home Minister also reviewed security situation with senior officials of Manipur Police, central police forces and the Indian Army. Peace and prosperity of Manipur is our top priority, he said and instructed the officials to strictly deal with any activities disturbing the peace.
Manipur has been hit by ethnic conflict for nearly a month and witnessed a sudden spurt in clashes and firing between militants and security forces on Sunday, after a relative lull for over a fortnight.
The death toll from clashes has gone up to 80, officials said.
The Home Minister who flew into Imphal on Monday night was accompanied by the Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and Director of the Intelligence Bureau Tapan Kumar Deka.
Earlier in the day, the government announced it will provide a compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of those who died in the ethnic conflict and a job to a family member.
The compensation amount will be borne equally by the Centre and the state, an official release said.
The decision was taken at a meeting between the union Home minister and Biren Singh in the presence of some members of the council of ministers on Monday night.
During the meeting, it was also decided to ensure that essential items such as petrol, LPG, rice and other foodgrains will be made available in large quantities to cool down rising prices.
Shah will visit Moreh and Kangpokpi areas Wednesday. He will interact with the delegations of various local groups in Moreh followed by meeting with civil society organisations in Kangpokpi.
Meanwhile, the Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan in Pune said that challenges in Manipur have not disappeared, but expressed hope that things will settle down in some time, while noting the ongoing situation in the North Eastern state is not related to insurgency.
"We are helping the state government with the problem," he added.
"I would like to say that the Army and Assam Rifles have done an excellent job there and may have saved a large number of lives. Hopefully this will settle and the government there will be able to do the job with the help of CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces) etc," the CDS said.
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