Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh on May 9 urged people to maintain peace while informing that a high-level inquiry will be conducted to hold those responsible for the violence to account and also act those who failed to discharge their responsibilities in containing the unrest.
In his first public reaction to the ethnic clashes that have put Manipur on the boil, chief minister Biren Singh also thanked Union home minister Amit Shah for monitoring the situation and sending central forces to restore normality at the earliest.
He assured media persons that those stranded in the ongoing violence were being provided with the best possible care.
“Around 60 people have lost their lives so far while 231 have suffered injuries in the violence. Also, about 1,700 houses were burned down in the unfortunate incidents (rioting) on May 3. I appeal to the people to restore peace and calm to the state,” the chief minister added.
He also appealed to the people not to block or obstruct the movement of public transport.
“Those stranded at different locations in Manipur are being provided the best possible care and support. They are being moved to safe locations and shelters. Till now, 20,000 such persons have been evacuated and about 10,000 remain stranded,” Biren Singh said, adding that a high-level inquiry will be conducted to fix the responsibility on those behind the violence.
“A high-level inquiry will be conducted to fix responsibility on persons/groups behind the violence and government servants who failed to discharge their responsibilities. I appeal to all not to spread or believe unfounded and baseless rumours. Till now, 35,655 persons, including 1593 students, have been moved to safer locations,” the CM said.
The chief minister also assured that the government machinery was working round the clock to resolve the situation and restore order and MLAs and ministers were also making sincere efforts to bring back peace.
“I appeal to the public to extend their maximum cooperation to paramilitary and state forces. I also appeal to them to create a safe and conducive environment to enable affected families to return to their homes. I sincerely thank the honourable home minister Amit Shah on behalf of the government. He has been monitoring the situation from the first day of violence and has sent several companies of central forces to the state to restore order,” Biren Singh said.
Several state governments, including those in the Northeast, are working on plans to evacuate their citizens out of the violence-hit Manipur.
Meanwhile, Internet services remained suspended in the state and curfew continued to be enforced in violence-hit regions.
Some relaxations to the curfew, which were introduced on May 7 to enable people to purchase items of daily need, continued as well on May 8.
Clashes erupted in the Northeast state after the high court directed the state government to consider including Meiteis in the list of Scheduled Tribes (STs).
Amid the demand of the Meitei people for ST status, a rally was organised by the All Tribals Students Union (ATSU) Manipur on May 3, which later turned violent.