Strife-torn Manipur is limping back to normalcy even as the Army and central paramilitary forces continued their vigil in the sensitive areas, while the authorities relaxed curfew in four districts, including the most volatile Churachandpur district, for four hours on Tuesday morning.
Mobile internet service will continue to remain suspended till May 13. Relaxation in curfew was extended in the violence-ravaged districts of Manipur for the fourth day on Tuesday, citing an improved situation with the deployment of Army and central forces along with state forces in all the vulnerable and mixed-populated areas.
On the advice of the state authority, the district administrations relaxed curfew in four districts — Imphal West, Thoubal, Jiribam, and Churachandpur — for four hours on Tuesday to enable people to procure essentials.
A senior official said that subsequent relaxations of curfew shall be reviewed and notified based on an assessment of the prevailing law and order situation.
Deployment of Army and central paramilitary forces will continue, mobile internet suspension will remain in place, and a total public curfew under Section 144 of CrPC, 1973, prohibiting the movement of any person outside his/her home, will remain imposed in several districts.
The widespread violent clashes and arson broke out across Manipur during a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ on May 3 called by the All Tribal Students’ Union of Manipur (ATSUM) to oppose the demand for inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe category.
The ATSUM had called the rally in 10 hill districts, inhabited by the tribals, to oppose the recent Manipur High Court order, which asked the state government to send a recommendation to the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry regarding the demand to include the majority and predominantly Hindu Meitei community in the ST list.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Amit Shah, who is monitoring the situation in Manipur since last week, has said the situation in Manipur is under control though a curfew will remain in force in the violence-hit northeastern state.
The Manipur government would consult all the stakeholders before taking a decision on the matter of ST status for the Meitei community, Shah told a television channel, as he appealed to the people to maintain peace.
There is no need for any individual or group to be fearful as the government is serious about dealing with the situation effectively, he said.
Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh had said on Monday evening that at least 60 people, including women, have been killed and 231 people injured while 1,700 houses have been burnt in the ethnic violence in Manipur since May 3.
He also announced that a high-level inquiry would be conducted to fix responsibility on persons and groups who instigated the violence and government servants who didn’t meet their responsibilities.
So far, 35,655 persons, including 1,593 students, have been moved to safer locations, Singh told the media.
He said the miscreants have snatched 1,041 arms and 7,460 pieces of ammunition from the security forces and so far, of which 214 arms and 4,273 pieces of ammunition have been recovered.
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