Manipur CM N Biren Singh said misunderstanding between two communities led to the clashes. (Image: Facebook/N Biren Singh/ANI)
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has stated that the incidents of clashes in the various parts of the state were a result of misunderstanding and communication gap between two communities. The CM has appealed to the people of Manipur to cooperate with the government to maintain law and order and has assured that the government is taking all necessary steps to maintain peace in the state. Notably, violence erupted in several parts of Manipur after a mass rally held by tribal groups in several districts of the state on Thursday, May 4.
If reports are to be believed, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has dialled the Manipur Chief Minister and has taken stock of the law and order situation in the state. Few companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been dispatched in the state, and an adequate number of Army, Assam Rifles and other Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) are deployed in the violence-torn areas to control the situation.
According to news agency ANI, CM N Biren Singh said, "In this hour, I appeal to one and all to maintain peace and harmony in your respective areas. I ask you not to believe rumours and unverified messages. We are committed to protect the lives and property of all our people. Long-term grievances of different communities will also be suitably addressed in due course in consultation with the people and their representatives."
He added that the culture of communal harmony in the state should not be allowed to be disturbed by vested interests.
My humble appeal to everyone in the State to cooperate with the Government in maintaining peace & harmony at this hour. pic.twitter.com/qViqbuflWr— N.Biren Singh (@NBirenSingh) May 4, 2023
As per reports, violence broke out during the 'Tribal Solidarity March' called by the All Tribal Student Union Manipur (ATSUM) in the Torbung area of Churachandpur district to protest the demand of non-tribal Meiteis, who dominate the Imphal Valley, for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. Thousands of tribals joined the processions and raised slogans opposing ST status for the Meitei. This led to clashes at various locations in the state.
As per the news agency, the government has suspended mobile internet services for the next five days to tackle the worsening law and order situation in Manipur. Apart from this, large gatherings have also been banned in the state and a night curfew has been imposed in various districts. Additionally, curfew has been imposed in non-tribal-dominated Imphal West, Kakching, Thoubal, Jiribam, and Bishnupur districts, and tribal-dominated Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, and Tengnoupal districts.
It is being said that the present situation in the state is linked with two issues. The resistance faced by CM N Biren Singh from the illegal immigrants and drug cartels, in an effort to protect the forest is considered as one of the reasons behind the incident. Apart from this, the Manipur High Court's recent direction to the state government to consider the inclusion of Meitei in ST (Scheduled Tribes) led to an outburst from the tribal community who belong to the ST category.