Security will be tightened in Manipur’s hill areas, Amit Shah assures tribal leaders
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday assured the tribal leaders from Manipur that security will be further tightened in the hill and tribal areas of the northeastern state.
New Delhi/Imphal: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday assured the tribal leaders from Manipur that security will be further tightened in the hill and tribal areas of the northeastern state.
The Home Minister held a meeting with the six-member delegation of Manipur’s Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum (ITLF), led by its secretary Muan Tombing, in Delhi to discuss their demands, which include a separate state for the tribals.
Sources said that Shah rejected the demand of a separate administration or separate state for the tribals in Manipur.
Senior ITLF leader and spokesman Ginza Vualzong said that taking note of their apprehensions about the safety and security of the residents of the hill areas of the state, Shah assured that deployment of Central forces will be further strengthened and reoriented to plug the vulnerable gap areas.
The state forces will operate under the direction of the state security advisor and in conjunction with the Central forces in the hill areas, Vualzong said, referring to the decisions taken in the meeting.
Necessary arrangements will also be made to facilitate identification and transportation of bodies of victims of ethnic violence lying at hospitals in Imphal to their respective hometowns.
Vualzong said that in view of the request by the Home Minister, they would finalise an alternative location for mass burial of people killed in the ethnic violence in consultation with their families and the Deputy Commissioner of Churachandpur district.
The Central government also assured to facilitate early initiation of helicopter services for the residents of Churachandpur, Kangpokpi and Moreh areas to take them to their preferred destinations.
Considering the difficulties being faced by the student community in the hill areas, necessary steps will be taken to allow students to enroll in colleges in other areas, transfer to universities outside the state besides opening student facilitation centres of Manipur University in Churachandpur and Kangpokpi districts.
While assuring that the condition of prison inmates will be monitored regularly, Shah also assured that a separate office of Justice Lamba inquiry commission will be set up in Churachandpur with immediate effect.
Gauhati High Court’s former Chief Justice Ajai Lamba (Retd) is heading the three-member commission of inquiry to probe the ethnic violence in Manipur.
The ITLF leaders had gone to Delhi on Monday to press their demands, which included creation of separate administration (equivalent to separate state) for the tribals, withdrawal of Manipur government’s police and commando forces from the hill and tribal-inhabited areas, shifting of inmates lodged in jails in Imphal to others states, and legalisation of a site for mass burial of tribals killed in the ethnic violence.
The volatile Manipur situation further escalated after the tribal organisation announced to conduct mass burial in Churachandpur on August 3. The move was strongly opposed by the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), an umbrella body of the Meitei community.
However, the mass burial was postponed after the Manipur High Court ordered to maintain status-quo of the proposed burial site in Churachandpur.
In a letter to ITLF and COCOMI on August 3, Union Minister of State for Home, Nityanand Rai, had appealed to maintain peace and communal harmony.
Since May 12, 10 tribal MLAs, including seven BJP legislators, ITLF and the influential Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) have been demanding separate administration for the tribals.
Shah, Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, the ruling BJP and various other organisations, including the COCOMI, have strongly opposed the separate administration demand.