Surrender arms or face action: Amit Shah's stern warning in Manipur; probe panel announced
Amit Shah in Manipur: A peace committee will be set up in violence-hit Manipur under the guidance of the Governor, Home minister announced
Union home minister Amit Shah on Thursday announced a probe panel led by a retired judge to investigate the widespread violence that Manipur witnessed leading to loss of lives and damage to properties. Six cases pertaining to the violence will be probed by a special CBI team, Amit Shah announced after his three-day visit to the violence-hit northeastern state. Stern action will be taken if there is any violation of the SoO agreement, the home minister said urging everyone to surrender arms. Read | Govt committed to restoring peace in Manipur: Amit Shah
Amit Shah said he held several rounds of meetings with every section of the society, including officers, political parties and the representatives of Kuki and Meitei civil groups. "A probe panel will be set up to look into the reasons for the violence and to identify who was responsible for it. This probe panel will be headed by a retired judge of the rank of the chief justice of a high court. This probe will be done by the Centre. A peace committee will be set up under the guidance of the Manipur Governor," the Union home minister announced.
An inter-agency unified command will start working in the state from Thursday under Kuldeep Singh, retired DG, CRPF -- overseeing the coordination among the agencies deployed in the state to manage the situation, Amit Shah said.
“Six cases will be probed by a special team of the CBI under the Centre. I want to assure all Manipur people that there will be an impartial and fair probe. The future course of action to ensure that no such violence takes place in future will also be deliberated,” the Union minister said.
As Amit Shah addressed a press conference, he announced an ex gratia amount of ₹10 lakh ( ₹5 lakh from the state and ₹5 lakh from the Centre) to families of those who lost their lives in the violence.
'Surrender arms, combing operation from tomorrow'
Appealing to everyone who may have arms in their possession, Amit Shah said, "Surrender your arms to the police today. From tomorrow, a combing operation will start. Action will be taken if arms are found by the police." “I want to appeal to all civil society organisations to not pay heed to rumours. Now is the time to maintain peace from both sides,” Amit Shah said.
Situation in Manipur
Manipur has been the seat of violence for the past few weeks which escalated on Sunday when five persons, including a Manipur police officer, were killed, a BJP MLA's house was vandalised and over 1,000 arms and ammunition were reportedly looted by a mob from armories of Manipur Rifles and IRB.
The first violence was witnessed on May 3 during a rally organized by the All Tribals Students Union (ATSU) to protest the demand for the inclusion of Meitei/Meetei in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) category. The march was organised in protest against the demand for inclusion of the state's Meitei community in the ST category, following an April 19 Manipur High Court directive.