219 deaths, ₹800cr loss: Guv on Manipur clashes | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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219 deaths, 800cr loss: Guv on Manipur clashes

By, Guwahati
Feb 29, 2024 05:52 AM IST

Uikey stated that 187,143 persons were detained in the state since May last year as a preventive measure and were released later after legal formalities

Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey on Wednesday told the state legislature that to date 219 persons have been killed in the ethnic violence that has roiled the northeastern state since May last year, which has also resulted in a loss of around 800 crore to the exchequer, among the first official consolidated numbers coming out on the toll clashes between ethnic groups have taken.

Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey with President Droupadi Murmu, at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, earlier in February. (ANI)
Manipur Governor Anusuiya Uikey with President Droupadi Murmu, at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi, earlier in February. (ANI)

Delivering her address on the first day of the fifth session of the 12th Manipur Assembly, Uikey spoke about efforts undertaken to bring peace and normalcy and the effect of the violence on the state’s economy.

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“It is unfortunate that due to the violence 219 persons have lost their lives. Those families who have lost their dear ones are being given compensation of 10 lakh each based on verification. Bodies of victims have been given to their families and their last rites performed,” she said in her address that came shortly after a senior policeman was abducted by a militant group before being rescued — a sign of the chaos and anarchy the state has descended into.

Uikey informed the house that to maintain law and order, 198 companies of central armed police forces (CAPFs) and 140 columns of army have been deployed in the state. Audit of weapons snatched from armories has been done and they are being recovered as part of a continuous process, she said. Her reference is to weapons recovered from militant and insurgent groups kept in government armories. With the clashes breaking out, many of the armories were attacked and looted.

After a peace agreement (the so-called Suspension of Operations or SoO ) was signed, militant groups handed over their weapons to the government. The SoO agreement , signed in 2008, is reviewed every last day of February, and earlier this week, a Meitei body sought its scrapping. Till late Wednesday, there was no clarity on the status of the SoO.

Manipur has been on the boil since last May when the high court said that the Meitei, the dominant group in the state should be given scheduled tribe status, drawing immediate protests from the Kuki. A protest march by the Kuki sparked violence in the state. Today, the state is essentially a series of protected enclaves, each guarded by its own vigilante group, with buffer areas between various such enclaves that are monitored by the state police and central forces.

The ethnic divide has also had an impact on the police, the bureaucracy, even legislators, with community loyalties usually overwhelming statutory responsibilities. Amidst this, last week, the high court read down the controversial part of its May 2023 order, but that does not seem to have had an impact.

Uikey stated that 187,143 persons were detained in the state since May last year as a preventive measure and were released later after legal formalities. To date, around 10,000 FIRs have been lodged in connection with the ethnic violence, the Governor said.

“For transparent and independent investigation, the government has transferred 29 cases to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and one to National Investigation Agency (NIA). Process is underway to hand over 4 more cases to CBI and another 5 to NIA,” Uikey said.

She stated that the government has undertaken efforts to control the challenging circumstances. Curfew relaxations have been ordered in most parts of the state and the ban on internet services has been lifted in many parts depending on the situation.

“Relief efforts for those displaced are happening routinely and educational needs of affected children and youths. Efforts on for rehabilitation of those displaced and nearly 200 crores have been spent till now for that,” she said.

Uikey added that the present financial year has been a difficult one for the state due to the present situation and trends from tax collection indicate that Manipur could lose around 800 crores in revenue in 2023-24.

The Governor highlighted various efforts undertaken in different sectors including education, agriculture, power generation etc.

Uikey concluded her speech by urging everyone in the state to maintain harmony so that there is lasting peace in the state and there is rapid development.

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