Unaware of plot behind May 3 rally: N Biren
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, February 29 2024: Chief Minister N Biren said that the government failed to comprehend the plot hatched by some groups behind the solidarity rally of May 3 last year when it allowed the rally against ST demand by Meeteis.

Presenting his statement about the ongoing crisis in the state during Thursday's session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly, Biren said that the May 3 violence was an unfortunate incident and the government strongly condemns the violence.

As a democratic state, every group of people has their rights to hold rally or protest democratically.

The high court order on ST demand for Meeteis was based on a petition filed by a committee and the government has no involvement in the matter.

As soon as the HC order came, the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) raised objection to the government, to which he told them that it was simply a court order and the government will not do anything that will affect the interest of any community without consensus.

He assured the HAC team that the government will take time to discuss the matter, to which the HAC team responded positively.

In the meantime, ATSUM planned a solidarity rally against the order, which the government did not objected to thinking that it was just another democratic rally.

Unfortunately, some groups with ill feelings were planning a different agenda behind the rally and targeted public as well as private properties, further escalating the crisis lingering for the last 10 months.

In short, the government failed to comprehend the plot hatched by some groups behind the rally.

As the rally was underway, huge mobs started torching public and private properties in Churachandpur and Moreh.

As the mob was huge and the government did not expected such an outcome, there was lapses in security coordination.

Despite the situation, the government did its best to tie up with security agencies and minimise damage, he said.

There had been many clashes and crisis in the past but this time, the scale was unprecedented.

However, there is some semblance of normalcy in many parts of the state due to cooperation and support from the public and security agencies.

The government communicated with HAC members and tried to restore peace.

At present too, the government is reaching out to the parties, he said.

One should also look for the possibilities of the elected members acting out of pressure or under duress.

A time will also come for forgive and forget once the crisis is resolved.

Though the demand and reaction seems to be against the government, targeting the public and their properties is highly condemnable, he said while stressing the need for understanding the genesis of the crisis.

Biren further said that the Centre appointed a security advisor, replaced the chief secretary, and DGP, and transferred the chairmanship of the Unified Command from the chief minister to the security advisor.

A senior official was also sent to oversee the welfare and security of the displaced persons.

In order to look into the cases, 42 SITs were formed.

Cases of rape and sexual assaults are beingļæ½handled by senior officers.

The Centre had also constituted a Commission of Enquiry, and crisis management committee along with several sub-committees were also formed by the state, he elaborated.

While asserting that the government will take appropriate actions in accordance with law, he said around 2.5 lakh persons were detained during the crisis period with only those involved in crimes arrested while the rest were released after verification.

CBI and NIA teams are carrying out investigations, whose findings will come out one day, he said.

The CM also said that there are around 320 relief camps across the state and conveyed gratitude to CSOs, local clubs, organisations, Meira Paibi Lups and MLAs for their assistance towards the displaced people.

He also appealed to all concerned to refrain from issuing statement or indulging inactivities, which might create enmity among the communities or hurt others' sentiments.

Regarding looting of arms and ammunition, Biren said that 1,757 arms have been recovered and central paramilitary forces are deployed in all structures having armoury to prevent similar incidents.

Checkpoints have been set up and 46 security posts established at locations prone to attacks, which led to curbing armed skirmishes.

Security measures are also in place along NH 37 to ensure regular supply of commodities, he added.

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