Imphal: Life was crawling back to somewhat normal in violence-hit Manipur as people came out of their homes in state capital Imphal to buy essential items with the curfew being relaxed for a few hours on Monday morning, officials said.
Drones and helicopters continued a close watch, while personnel of the Army and Assam Rifles held flag marches in different areas that have been rocked by ethnic violence over the last few days, they said.
The clashes broke out on Wednesday after tribals organised a demonstration in the ten hill districts of the state to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, leading to the deaths of at least 54 people.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis — constitute another 40 per cent of the population and live in the hill districts.
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So far, 23,000 people have been rescued from the violence-hit areas and moved to military garrisons, officials said.
The curfew, imposed on Wednesday after the violence broke out, was relaxed from 5 am to 8 am in Imphal West district to allow people buy essential items. People came out in large numbers to buy vegetables, groceries and medicines.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh said he was thankful to Union Home Minister Amit Shah for his supervision and support to help improve the situation in the violence-hit state.
”I have been constantly in touch with the office of the Home Minister to monitor the situation and ensure that no further violence takes place in the state,” he said.
”The paramilitary and state forces have been doing an exemplary job in controlling the violence and bringing the state back to normalcy. I also appreciate the people of the state for their cooperation,” he added.
Governor Anusuiya Uikey chaired a meeting with Security Advisor Kuldip Singh and Operational Commander Ashutosh Sinha on Sunday. At the meeting, the two officers shared their suggestions with the governor to resolve the crisis.
The state government also brought back IAS officer Vineet Joshi from central deputation in New Delhi, and appointed him as the new chief secretary. Union Minister for the Development of North Eastern Region G Kishan Reddy told PTI on Sunday that the Centre was ready for talks with the warring groups in Manipur and resolve their issues.
”Please come forward to solve the issues in a peaceful manner. The government is ready. You have seen the farmers’ issue. When it was peaceful, we tried to convince them. As the issue was not resolved, we agreed to their demand, and those bills (three farm laws) were withdrawn. So, the government is not adamant,” he said.