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Shah announces relief package for Manipur, warns of strict action in cases of violence

Union Home Minister Amit Shah addresses a press conference, in Imphal, Manipur, Thursday, June 1, 2023.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday urged people of Manipur not to pay heed to fake news and said strict action will be taken against anyone violating the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement.

Addressing a press conference in Imphal, Shah said Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey will head a peace committee with members of the civil society to ensure harmony in the state.

The Home Minister announced a relief and rehabilitation package for the state in the wake of ethnic violence. The next of kin of those who lost their lives in the violence will be given Rs 5 lakh by the central government and Rs 5 lakh by the Manipur government as compensation, the home minister said.

The amount will be transferred to the victims through DBT. Special medical officers will ensure medical facilities in areas hit by violence, he said.

Amit Shah said the central government has provided eight teams of medical experts including 20 doctors to Manipur to provide aid to victims of violence in the state. Five teams have already reached here and three others are on the way.

The Union Home Minister said that to ensure uninterrupted supply of essential commodities to Manipur, the Government of India has sent 30,000 tonnes of rice over and above the prescribed quota. Apart from this, arrangements have also been made for the supply of gas cylinders, petrol and vegetables. He said that supply of essential commodities to Manipur from the rest of the country would also be ensured by setting up a temporary platform at Khongsang railway station.

Shah added that a temporary helicopter facility is being started from Churachandpur, Moreh and Kangpokpi, which will provide transport facility to airport and remote places with charges of Rs 2000 per person only. He said that the rest of the cost of this service would be provided by the Government of India and the Government of Manipur.

The Home Minister expressed condolences to the families of those killed in the recent violence in the state.

“On behalf of the Government of India, on behalf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and on my own behalf, I express my deepest condolences to all those who have died in the recent violence. It is natural for all of us to feel sad when a citizen of the country dies,” Amit Shah said.

The Home Minister said that he had visited various parts of the state in three days including Imphal, Moreh, and Churachandpur and met with representatives of the Meitei and Kuki communities.

He said that those carrying weapons must surrender before the police while cautioning that not doing so will lead to strict action during combing operations from tomorrow.

“Central Government has constituted a committee to probe these incidents headed by a retired judge of the High Court.,” he announced.

The union minister assured the people of Manipur that the investigations will be carried out without any bias and discrimination and the guilty will be punished.

“Several agencies are working in Manipur to investigate violent incidents. High-level CBI probe in six incidents of violence that hint at a conspiracy. We will make sure that the investigation is fair,” he said.

Joint Secretary and Joint Director level officers of the Home Ministry and other ministries will be present in Manipur to help people and take stock of the situation in the state.

The Home Minister said that online education and examination will be held as per plan.

“Education officials will reach the state and we will have discussions to provide uninterrupted education facilities to the students. Online education and examination will be held as per plan,” he said.

“In the last one month, there have been some violent incidents reported in Manipur. I have visited several places in Manipur in the last three days including Imphal, Moreh, and Churachandpur and held meetings with officials to establish peace in the state. I have met CSOs of Meitei and Kuki communities,” the home minister added.

Shah said the BJP government has done unprecedented work in the state and the last six years were known for peace and prosperity.

Violent clashes broke out in the northeastern state of Manipur after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the 10 hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, leading to the deaths of over 80 people. Properties worth crores have also been destroyed in the violence, leaving thousands homeless.

The escalation in violence in Manipur has its roots in an over 10-year-old demand by the Meitei community for a Scheduled Tribe tag. The immediate reason for this violence, however, is a Manipur High Court order directing the state government to recommend to the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry by May 29, an ST tag for the community.