India’s Home Minister Amit Shah is currently on a four-day visit to the crisis-hit northeastern state of Manipur. During his meeting with the stakeholders in the region, Shah appealed for 15 days of peace to bring normalcy and achieve solutions.
Muan Tombing, general secretary of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), said the government was likely to announce a judicial inquiry commission to probe the violence in the state. The commission is expected to be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge.
“The Home Minister said peace be given a chance for the next 15 days for a solution to be achieved. He said the Centre will appoint a judicial commission and separate teams will visit Imphal and Churachandpur during the period. We assured the Minister that we will not attack any group but if attacked, we will defend ourselves,” Tombing was quoted as saying by The Hindu newspaper.
Two communities – Kukis and Meiteis – have been engaged in attack on each other since the violence first broke out on May 3. Keeping the gravity of the situation in mind, Shah held closed-door meetings with leaders of civil society organisations and tribal representatives in Churachandpur – one of the worst-hit districts.
Apart from an independent probe, media reports said Shah had given several other assurances, including rehabilitation for loss of life and property and property transfer via direct benefit, relief material to the state and CBI investigation in select cases with no involvement of state officers.
On Tuesday, Shah took to Twitter and said he had held fruitful meetings with civil society members and reviewed the security situation with the law enforcement agencies.
The ethnic violence in Manipur started on May 3 when tribal groups, including the Kuki community, clashed with the ethnic majority of Meitei people – a non-tribal group, over economic benefits and quotas given to the tribes. At least 60 people have been killed while around 35,000 have been displaced due to rioting and ethnic clashes.
Earlier this week, 11 athletes from the state including Olympic gold medalist Mitrabai Chanu wrote a letter to Shah, urging him to take immediate action to restore “peace and normalcy” in the state.
The other signatories to the letter include Padma Award winner weightlifter Kunjarani Devi, former Indian woman football team captain Bem Bem Devi and Boxer L Sarita Devi.