Shah Arrives In Violence-Hit Manipur, To Hold Talks To Check Hostilities

(MENAFN- IANS) Imphal, May 29 (IANS) Union Home Minister Amit Shah arrived in violence-hit Manipur on Monday night where he is expected stay for three-four days and hold meetings with all the stakeholders to finalise strategies to curb the ethnic violence that has ravaged the northeastern state since May 3.
Top officials in Imphal said that Shah might visit some mixed populated districts, including those along the Myanmar border.
Immediately after his arrival, Shah held a meeting with the council of ministers headed by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and discussed the prevailing situation in Manipur.
Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande and Eastern Command Army chief Lt Gen R.P. Kalita had separately visited the sensitive districts last week and held meetings with Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, Chief Security Advisor to Manipur Kuldiep Singh, leaders of civil society groups and influential community leaders.
Earlier on Monday, the Chief Minister had reviewed the security situation along with Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai and other top officials.
Except for some minor incidents, no major case of violence was reported from the 11 hill districts on Monday.
The curfew, which was imposed after the ethnic violence first broke out on May 3 in 11 of the 16 districts, continues to remain in place, including in Imphal East and Imphal West.
Meanwhile, the Army, Central paramilitary forces, Manipur Police commandos, and the Rapid Action Force continued combing operations in the Imphal valley and surrounding districts on Monday, an official said.
Around 140 columns of the Indian Army and Assam Rifles, comprising around 10,000 troopers, had to be deployed to curb the ethnic violence and bring back normalcy in the northeastern state.
Meanwhile, Nityanand Rai, who has been camping in Manipur since May 25, visited some districts and held a series of meetings with various civil society groups, influential community leaders and common people belonging to different communities.
He told the media in Imphal that the unrest would affect the development and welfare activities in the state.
He added that all grievances, demands, and other issues would be resolved through talks and and people from the different communities must have faith in the government and shun all forms of violence.
Defence sources said that responding to specific information about the presence of some armed miscreants with the intention to carry out attacks on the security forces in the City Convention Centre area in Imphal East district, the Army mobilised its forces on Sunday night to set up multiple mobile vehicle check-posts (MVCP).
A suspicious passenger car was seen approaching one the check-posts on Sunday night with four passengers in it. On being challenged, the miscreants got down from the car and attempted to flee, but they were apprehended.
An INSAS rifle with magazine, 60 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunition, a Chinese hand grenade and one detonator were recovered from the car.
The miscreants were later handed over to the Police.
Widespread ethnic clashes, which have claimed over 75 lives and injured more than 300 others so far, broke out 11 districts of the state after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
The ethnic violence was preceded by agitations and tension over the government's eviction of Kuki villagers from the reserve and protected forest lands.



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