Indian home minister Amit Shah chairs a meeting with Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh in state capital Imphal on Monday, May 29, 2023. (ANI Photo)
The Narendra Modi government on Tuesday (30) announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh (£9,731) for the kin of those killed in the recent ethnic clashes in the north-eastern Indian state of Manipur as home minister Amit Shah toured parts of the violence-hit state which has an international border with Myanmar.
Shah, the second-most powerful leader in India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after prime minister Modi, went to the strife-torn Churachandpur district where he was greeted by tribal women who displayed India’s national flags and posters, some of which read, “Only Centre can find a solution”, NDTV reported.
In India, the federal government is also referred to as the Centre.
Shah, who is on a four-day visit to Manipur starting Monday (29), also met chief minister N Biren Singh, other senior officials and other prominent personalities.
“They (the prominent personalities) expressed their commitment to peace and assured that we would together contribute to paving the way to restore normalcy in Manipur,” India’s ministry of home affairs said in a statement.
Detailed talks were held in the chief minister’s secretariat in state capital Imphal where several stakeholders spoke about restoring normalcy in Manipur. The federal government also said that telephone lines would be set up with the help of the state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited to tackle rumours, the NDTV report added.
Violence broke out across Manipur earlier in May during a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ called by All Tribal Student Union Manipur in Churachandpur to protest the demand for the majority Meitei community for the getting the status of Scheduled Tribe, which are officially designated groups of people and among the country’s most disadvantaged socio-economic groups. Thousands took part in the rally and clashes broke out between tribals and non-tribals, resulting in several deaths and injuries and destruction of properties.
Several sportspersons from Manipur, including Olympians, wrote to Shah, urging him to find a solution to the ongoing crisis, NDTV reported. It also added that Olympic medal-winner Mirabai Chanu is among those who have signed the letter and warned that they would return the awards and medals if “peace and normalcy” are not restored at the earliest.
India’s chief of defence staff General Anil Chauhan on Tuesday said the challenges in Manipur would take some time to disappear. He also said that the ethnic clash in the state had nothing to do with counter insurgency.
Meanwhile, in New Delhi, a delegation of opposition Indian National Congress led by the party’s national president, mallikarjun Kharge, met president Droupadi Murmu at the Rashtrapati Bhavan seeking a high-level inquiry commission into the violence.