Manipur officials brief Amit Shah on rehabilitation, blockades
Manipur government and paramilitary officials briefed Union home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday about relief and rehabilitation measures in the strife-torn state.
Manipur government and paramilitary officials briefed Union home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday about relief and rehabilitation measures in the strife-torn state, informing the minister that the first batch of around 1,000 people will move from relief camps into prefabricated houses on Wednesday, people aware of the matter said.
A second issue that was discussed during the meeting was the road blockades and plans by forces to ensure that essentials reached the people, the people cited above said, adding that helicopter services from the hill districts inhabited by the Kukis to Aizawl also came up. The discussion came a day after a prominent Kuki group announced the blockade of two arterial national highways that serve Imphal.
The Union home ministry and the Manipur government didn’t comment on the meeting but the people quoted above said that officials told Shah that the state administration was constructing 4m000 pre-fabricated houses across the state.
“The government informed the minister about the status of the construction of the prefabricated houses. All deputy commissioners are identifying land within their area and are in touch with both communities to build the houses at the earliest. Such houses are being built for all people of both communities,” said an official, who asked not to be named.
The official also added that one such community-based housing complex near the Sajiwa Central Jail in Imphal has been completed, where around 1,000 displaced people will be moving in on Wednesday.
“The minister was informed that similar construction is on in full swing at other places too. Each prefabricated house has at least two rooms and are built in rows,” the official added.
The same official quoted above said that the minister also asked about the status of the helicopter services for residents of districts such as Churachandpur, Kangpokpi and Moreh -- all dominated by the tribal Kukis.
Kukis and other tribal groups live in hill districts and the dominant Meiteis live in the valley and plains. Due to the simmering ethnic tensions, the residents of the hills had requested Shah -- during his visit to the state in the last week of May -- to start helicopter services so that they didn’t have to go to the airport at Imphal.
The Centre has already given permission for interstate helicopter service between Churachandpur in Manipur to Aizwal in Mizoram. Officials said that a trial landing was also conducted on August 17 and services are yet to start.
At least 160 people have died in the ethnic clashes that broke out in the state on May 3, while around 50,000 people have been displaced. The families who lost their homes or fled the villages owing to the threat to their lives are living at government camps or with their relatives.
The review meeting on Tuesday was virtually attended by state government officials and senior officials of all paramilitary forces and Army.
Currently, the CRPF,BSF, ITBP, SSB, CISF, Assam Rifles and the army are working in conjunction with state police to restore normalcy and ensure there is no law-and-order disruption in the state.
Clashes in Manipur first broke out on May 3 in Churachandpur town after tribal groups called for protests against a proposed tweak to the state’s reservation matrix, granting scheduled tribe (ST) status to the Meitei community. Violence quickly engulfed the state where ethnic fault lines run deep, displacing tens of thousands of people who fled burning homes and neighbourhoods into jungles, often across state borders. The clashes have virtually partitioned the state between the dominant Meitei community that constitutes 53% of the state’s population, and the tribal Kuki group, which makes up 16% of the state.
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