Amit Shah likely to chair all-party meeting in Manipur

by IANS |

Imphal, May 30 (IANS) Visiting Union Home Minister Amit Shah is likely to chair an all party meeting in Imphal in an effort to bring peace and normalcy in Manipur, where at least 75 people have died and 300 others injured in the ethnic hostilities since May 3.

Shah, who arrived in Imphal on Monday on a three-day visit to the state, has already conducted a series of meetings.

Officials have said that the all-party meeting is likely to be held on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Soon after his arrival, the Union Minister attended a meeting with the state cabinet headed by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and discussed rehabilitation and resettlement plans for the affected families.

Officials in Imphal on Tuesday said that Shah, who also held meetings with Governor Anusuiya Uikey, various Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and an all-women delegation, might visit some mixed-populated districts, including those along the Myanmar border.

During his stay in Manipur, he will also hold meetings with all the stakeholders to finalise strategies to curb the ethnic violence that has ravaged the northeastern state for nearly a month.

Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai, the BJP's National Spokesman and the party's northeast coordinator Sambit Patra, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, Chief Security Advisor to Manipur Kuldiep Singh, top security and intelligence officials were present during Monday's meetings.

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from various trouble-hit districts. However, details were awaited.

The curfew, which was imposed after the ethnic violence first broke out on May 3 in 11 of the 16 districts, were relaxed for six to seven hours on Tuesday, 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.

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.

Widespread ethnic clashes broke out in 11 districts of the state after a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community's demand for a 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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