Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

Classic Group of Hotels
Chief Minister Biren speaking at the inauguration of State Institute of Hotel Management at Nongmaiching in Imphal East on March 14.

Ahead of the Parliamentary Election, CM Biren Claims Peace Has Started Returning and Urges People to Restore Normalcy in the State

As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Manipur gears up for the Parliamentary elections 2024, Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren has also started chanting in public that peace has begun returning to the state.

Speaking at the inauguration of State Institute of Hotel Management located at Nongmaiching in Imphal East Chief Minister Biren on March 14 said talks have been initiated to resolve the conflict between the Meitei and Kuki communities in the State. He also emphasised the importance of resolving conflicts through dialogue and political engagements.

He disclosed that legislatures from both the communities have met twice, indicating progress in the peace process. He said, “Valley MLAs have met Kuki legislators twice. A team consisting of the chairman of the hill areas committee has also been meeting both Kuki and Naga civil societies. I hope peace will return soon.”

Again, speaking as the Chief Guest of the inaugural ceremony of Manipur’s first Water Amusement Park located at Thenguchingjin, Awang Potshangbam in Imphal East on March 13, the Chief Minister didn’t miss to talk about the efforts of the Government to bring peace in the state. Chief Minister Biren said that the Government is putting all efforts to bring back peace in the State.

Likewise, addressing the public at a function held at Hapta Kangjeibung, Palace Compound in Imphal East for the distribution of welfare benefits Manipur Chief Minister Biren on March 11 also said peace has been gradually returning to the state, particularly over the last four months. Chief Minister Biren said, “We are working hard for peace to return. Peace has begun to return in the last four months compared to the period following the outbreak of violence on May 3 last year.”

Reflecting on the incident beginning of the violent conflict that erupted on May 3 last year with Kuki-Zomi militants attacking Meiteis in Manipur’s Churachandpur district and its bordering areas of Bishnupur district, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren expressed regret, but expressed optimism about achieving peace.

Further, CM Biren elaborated, “We thought it was a simple rally for the students,” referring to the rally organised by the All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM) against the demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status by the Meitei community. He, however, pointed out that the attacks were isolated to one or two places, with no incidents reported in other parts of the hill districts.

“At that time, security personnel and police were inadequately deployed as it was a sudden attack leading to loss of lives and property and for which I express my sincere condolences,” CM Biren said.

“However, the Government has taken up steps so that such incidents do not occur again. Efforts to deploy state forces at vulnerable and hotspot areas are almost over,” he said and urged the people to restore “the old Manipur prior to the outbreak of violence.”

Chief Minister said deployment of state security forces in vulnerable areas has helped reduce violence. Singh also noted that displaced persons from various areas have started returning to their homes. “Deployment of state security forces in almost all vulnerable areas is almost done. With God’s grace, news of violence has subsided and displaced persons of Phoubakchao, Dolaithabi, Sugnu and Serou have started returning to their native places,” he added.

As Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren informed on March 5 the recently concluded 5th Session of 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly regarding the reconstruction of houses which were destroyed during the conflict, 139 families were provided 50% advance payment for reconstructing their homes while 472 families were sanctioned for new houses under the scheme for permanent housing.

The government started providing ex-gratia payment to 114 victims while the verification process was underway for the remaining ones under the central and state governments’ ex-gratia scheme, he added. Earlier the state government had announced ex-gratia payment of ₹10 lakh each.

It may be mentioned that the violent conflict has claimed more than 221 lives of which 198 were civilians including 20 women and 8 children.

In the violent conflict, 13,264 structures were burned down and destroyed.

At least 28 persons are still missing and nine persons of 63 cases of missing persons were found alive. Out of 63 cases, 26 missing persons were declared dead while investigation is underway for two missing persons.

As many as 1555 persons sustained injuries in the ongoing violent conflict. 1429 persons of the 1555 injured persons were civilians while 88 belonged to the state police and 28 were from the central security forces; among them, 334 sustained bullet injuries.

In the violent conflict 61,387 persons are pushed away from their homes and the internally displaced persons are now taking shelter at refugee camps designated as releif camps and houses of their relatives.

Now, even though the scale of violence has reduced and the Chief Minister claims the return of peace to Manipur even after the violent conflict that erupted on May 3 last year with Kuki-Zomi militants attacking Meiteis in Manipur’s Churachandpur district and its bordering areas of Bishnupur district is passing 11 months – 319 days on March 16, 2024, the Kuki-Zomi militants’ attacks on the Meitei villages at the foothills still continue.

Most recently, two houses belonging to the chief of Kwatha Khunou situated along the Indo-Myanmar border in Tengnoupal district were burned downed by suspected Kuki-Zomi militants in early morning on March 11. Kwatha Khunou is the last village of India, with a population of 42 people belongging to Meitei community residing in 13 houses, according to reports.

After a gap of some days, Kuki-Zomi militants attacked Shugnu again on March 13 evening at about 5:30pm by firing bombs but not casualty was reported. They attacked again at about 11:40pm but the combined security forces stationed there retaliated and pushed them back.

It is reported that in the afternoon on March 13 at about 2:45pm Kuki-Zomi militants who came down fromTuichin Phaimol shot at the cows that were grazing at the Khuningthek Loukol of Shabungkhok Khunou under Yaingangpokpi Police Station in Imphal East. However, security forces deployed there retaliated and they escaped by climbing up the nearby mountain.

In the wee hours on March 15 too, Kuki-Zomi militants attacked Sangaithel village in Imphal West from Khoken and Ningthourok villages by firing bombs and bullets.  According to reports, combined force of 5/9 Gorkha Regiment, 33 Assam Rifles under 9 Sector and State Forces retaliated and pushed them back withut any casualty report.

Besides, the continuing violence, the people living in the valley district cannot venture out for any activity even for study since May 3 last year. The two National Highways – No. 2 Imphal-Dimapur and No. 37 Imphal-Jiribam have blocked by the Kuki-Zomi militants for about 11 months.

However, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren claims that peace has started returning to Manipur and urges people to restore peace in the State.

Also Read