Twenty Killed in Manipur Carnage Since May 3: Officials

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Unconfirmed reports have put the toll between 50 and 55 in the series of ethnic violence in different districts of the state..

IMPHAL — At least 20 people have lost their lives in Manipur carnage since May 3, a government official said here on Saturday.

Manipur government’s newly appointed security advisor Kuldiep Singh, a former CRPF Chief, said that at least 18 to 20 people were killed in the series of ethnic violence in different districts of the state.

“Over 100 people were injured in these countless attacks. Over 500 houses, a large number of vehicles, shops and other properties were either burnt down or damaged in these attacks, arsoning, vandalisation since May 3,” Singh, a retired IPS officer, told the media in Imphal.

He said that 23 police stations in different districts were identified as “most vulnerable” and the Army and Central Armed Police Forces were adequately deployed in these areas.

However, unconfirmed reports have put the toll between 50 and 55.

Army and Assam Rifles flag marches have been continued in more than four districts, specially in the most volatile Churachandpur district, he added.

In view of the prevailing widespread unrest in the state, the Central Government in a significant move has imposed Article 355 in the state to control the situation.

Article 355 is a part of emergency provisions contained in the Constitution that empowers the Centre to take all necessary steps to protect a state against internal disturbances and external aggression.

Director General of Manipur Police, P. Doungel while talking to the media said that after reviewing the overall situation, Article 355 has been imposed in the entire state allowing the Centre to take all necessary steps to bring the situation under control and protect the lives and properties of the people.

The police chief said that some miscreants looted arms from a police station in Bishnupur district and he urged them to return the same failing which stern action would be initiated against them.

“The situation in Manipur is expected to be brought under control in a day or two,” the DGP said.

A defence spokesman said, “Indian Air Force ferried additional Army and Paramilitary troops from two airfields in Assam employing C17 Globemaster and AN 32 aircrafts. Domination and evacuation of civilians of all communities from affected areas continued.”

The Manipur government on Thursday appointed Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) Ashutosh Sinha as the overall Operational Commander to control the situation and bring normalcy in the state.

Police said that over 25,000 affected people of different communities have been evacuated and sheltered in safer places. “We urge the people not to fall prey to any rumour and if they need any assistance contact the nearby police stations and the government authorities,” Sinha said.

Meanwhile, more than five Deputy Inspector General (DIG) rank officers and seven senior superintendents of police (SSP) and SP-rank officers of the CRPF have been tasked to coordinate the deployment of various security forces in violence infested Manipur.

A senior official of Manipur Home Department said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah is closely monitoring the situation in Manipur round the clock.

The Home Minister since Thursday held several video-conference meetings with Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, State Chief Secretary, DGP, Union Home Secretary and other top officials.

Shah also spoke to Chief Ministers of several northeastern states and discussed the Manipur situation and about the wellbeing of the students and people living in Manipur.

Various state governments of the northeastern states are in touch with the Manipur authorities on the safety and security of the students and people belonging to different northeastern states living in Manipur.

Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya, Mizoram governments have set up 24 X 7 help lines for the benefit of the students and people living in Manipur.

The situation turned seriously volatile on May 3 after thousands turned up for the ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ called by the All Tribal Students Union of Manipur (ATSUM) in 10 hill districts to oppose the demand for inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category.

In view of the prevailing situation, the Manipur government on Thursday authorised all District Magistrates, Sub-Divisional Magistrates and all Executive Magistrates to issue “Shoot at sight orders” in extreme cases.

In an appeal to the people, the Chief Minister urged them to maintain peace and calm and cooperate with the state government.”Wednesday’s incidents took place due to misunderstanding between the communities. The government will settle the genuine demands and grievances after talking with all the communities and leaders,” Singh had said in a video message.

The Manipur government on Wednesday night requisitioned the Army and Assam Rifles to control the ethnic violence in at least six districts.

Tribals – the Nagas and Kukis who are mainly Christians – constitute about 40 per cent of the state’s around three million population and inhabit the hill districts which account for much of the state’s land.

Protesting against the state government’s action to evict them from forest lands and destruction of illegal poppy cultivation in the reserve and protected forests, the tribals had on March 10 organised protest rallies in three districts — Churachandpur, Kangpokpi and Tengnoupal, during which five people were injured.

Fresh incidents of violence, including arson and vandalisation of government properties, were triggered on April 27 in Churachandpur district after the tribals launched fresh protests against the state government’s action against illegal poppy cultivation. — IANS

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