In the wake of ethnic violence that has plagued the region in recent days, some 23,000 people have been rescued from affected areas and transferred to military garrisons, according to officials.
To restore some semblance of normality, army personnel and the Assam Rifles conducted flag marches, though an undercurrent of tension remained. Reports indicate that about 10,000 security personnel have been deployed across the state since the unrest began Wednesday.
Governor Anusuiya Uikey chaired a meeting with Security Advisor Kuldip Singh and Operational Commander Ashutosh Sinha. During the meeting, the two officers presented their suggestions to resolve the crisis, as stated in a press release by Raj Bhavan.
Manipur violence: Why tribal groups are up in arms against Meiteis and what sparked the latest round of unrest in the state
One of the recommendations made by the officers, as advised by Uikey, was to ensure the safe return of people currently residing in the relief camps.
Clashes erupted following a “Tribal Solidarity March” held in 10 hilly districts of Manipur, to protest the Meitei community’s bid for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status. The clashes resulted in the tragic loss of at least 54 lives.
The Meiteis account for about 53% of the population of Manipur and mainly live in the Imphal valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis — make up another 40 percent of the population and live in the hilly districts.
In Hyderabad, Union Minister for Development of Northeast Region G Kishan Reddy told PTI that the Center is ready to talks with the warring groups in Manipur and resolve their problems.
“Please come forward to solve the problems peacefully. The government is ready. You saw the farmers’ problem. When it was peaceful, we tried to persuade them. As the problem was not solved, we agreed to their request, and those bills (three laws on agriculture) have been withdrawn. So, the government is not adamant,” he said.
He stressed that the welfare of the people is the main agenda of the government, urging the different protest groups to come forward for talks.
Reddy said the government would look after those who have suffered losses from the violence and order a full investigation into the incident.
“If they have any problem, it is the responsibility of the state and central governments to solve it. We should all maintain restraint. We should solve problems through discussions and not through violence. Nothing can be achieved through violence,” he added. .
As the situation was improving, the state Department of the Interior ordered district magistrates and deputy commissioners to ease curfews in parts of their districts from 1 to 3 p.m. every day, according to a notification.
Restrictions were eased in Churachandpur, the epicenter of the violence, from 7am to 10am on Sunday to allow people to buy basic necessities such as food and medicines.
On Monday, the curfew will be eased in Imphal West district from 5am to 8pm.
“Imphal City is an area where major markets, shops, godowns, commercial entities, etc. are located which provides various essentials which will not only meet the needs of the population of the District but also the needs of the entire State (sic) ,” the notification said, reasoning on the relaxation.
Over the past 24 hours, the military has significantly ramped up surveillance efforts through unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and helicopters inside the Imphal Valley, a defense statement said on morning.
Meanwhile, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has taken various measures to help passengers at Imphal Airport, while airlines have waived the fees of rescheduling and canceling flights operating here.
A total of 10,531 passengers traveled through Imphal Airport, which handled 108 flights in recent days.
Several states have also continued to bail out their people from the state.
Andhra Pradesh has rescued more than 100 students, while Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde said 22 students from the state were stranded there and arrangements were being made to bring them home.
Tripura has rescued 208 of its students from Manipur and Nagaland has evacuated 676 of its residents from the violence-stricken state. Sikkim has also rescued 128 students.
(With inputs from PTI)