On Wednesday, the third day of his visit to Manipur, Union Home Minister Amit Shah visited relief camps housing both the Kukis and Meiteis and pledged everyone of help in ensuring their early and safe return home.
He also met with Kuki community leaders and members in Kangpokpi and Moreh, assuring them of their safety and the availability of necessities like helicopter assistance in case of emergencies.
Many people in the relief camps reportedly complained that the state government stood by silently as members of the opposite community attacked them. According to sources, Shah promised that justice would be served and that they would receive all assistance necessary.
Some requested to be returned to their homes, which they had to leave due to the violence. Shah reportedly told them that it would be completed, but that it would take some time. Moreover, he gave the assurance that the government would assist in the reconstruction of any homes that had been burned during the unrest.
“Home Minister also visited a relief camp in Kangpokpi and met the Kuki community members. He said we are committed to restoring peace in Manipur as early as possible and ensuring their return to their homes,” said a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
“Our resolve remains focused on leading Manipur back to the track of peace and harmony once again and their return to their homes at the earliest,” he said during his visit to a refugee camp housing the Meiteis.
Shah is in Manipur for a four-day visit. The state has been in upheaval since May 3 when fighting between the Meitei minority and the Kuki tribe broke out. Even after the violence claimed the lives of at least 80 individuals, the two communities kept setting each other’s homes on fire.
“Shah visited Moreh and Kangpokpi and had wide ranging discussions with civil society organisations. He met delegations of Hill Tribal Council, Kuki Students Organisation, Kuki Chiefs Association, Tamil Sangam, Gorkha Samaj and Manipuri Muslim Council in Moreh. The delegates expressed strong support for the government’s initiatives to restore normalcy in the state,” said the MHA statement.
Moreh town is in the Tengnoupal district, which borders Myanmar, and Kangpokpi is a Kuki-dominated region.
Shah spoke with representatives of civil society organisations in Kangpokpi, including Thadou Inpi, the Committee on Tribal Unity, Kuki Inpi Manipur, Kuki Students Organisation, and Kuki Inpi, as well as well-known individuals and academics. The MHA reported that Shah promised to secure the supply of necessities in hilly areas and helicopter assistance for urgent requirements in Churachandpur, Moreh, and Kangpokpi.
Senior officials informed Shah on the security situation as well. “Union Home Minister also held a security review meeting with top officials in Imphal. He directed them to take stern and prompt actions to prevent violence, against armed miscreants and recover looted weapons to bring back normalcy at the earliest,” the MHA statement said.
In addition to Nityanand Rai, Sambit Patra, Ajay Kumar Bhalla, the Director General of the Assam Rifles, Lt. General Pradeep Chandran Nair, the Director of the IB, Tapan Kumar Deka, the DGP of Manipur, P Doungel, and other officials were with Shah.