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regular-article-logo Sunday, 21 July 2024

Amit Shah reviews security situation in Manipur after rap from RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat

Addressing an event at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur last week, Bhagwat had said: 'Manipur is still burning. Who is going to pay attention to it? It is the duty (of the government) to deal with it on priority'

Imran Ahmed Siddiqui New Delhi Published 18.06.24, 06:44 AM
Union home minister Amit Shah arrives to attend the review meeting on Manipur in New Delhi on Monday.

Union home minister Amit Shah arrives to attend the review meeting on Manipur in New Delhi on Monday. PTI picture

Union home minister Amit Shah on Monday chaired a meeting to review the security situation in BJP-ruled Manipur days after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat flagged the Centre’s inaction in the strife-torn northeastern state.

Chief minister N. Biren Singh, who has been blamed for failing to stop the ongoing violence, was absent at the meeting where Manipur was represented by chief
secretary Vineet Joshi and adviser to the state Kuldiep Singh.

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Speculation was rife in political circles in Manipur over “missing” Biren, with some suggesting that the changed equation within the NDA could be one of the reasons. Some pointed out that Biren no longer enjoys the Centre’s backing after the just concluded Lok Sabha polls in which the Congress won both seats in Manipur, with the mandate widely attributed to anger at the chief minister and the Centre’s mishandling of the strife.

“It is still not clear why the chief minister was not called to attend the crucial review meeting. His absence could be seen as a major signal that Biren Singh no longer enjoys the Centre’s support and a change of guard is imminent,” a Union home ministry official said.

“Home minister said that central forces deployment will be increased, if required, and central forces should be deployed strategically to restore peace and tranquility in the state,” a Union home ministry statement said.

Shah underscored the importance of a coordinated approach to resolve the ethnic conflict and said “the home ministry will talk to both the groups, Meiteis and Kukis, so as to bridge the ethnic divide, at the earliest”.

The home minister also reviewed the situation of relief camps in Manipur and directed proper availability of food, water, medicines and other basic amenities. He also instructed the chief secretary to ensure proper health and education facilities for the displaced and their rehabilitation.

Manipur has witnessed a fresh spate of violence in the last couple of weeks as a school building at T Motha near Moreh was set ablaze while abandoned houses and shops were torched in Kalinagar in Jiribam district.

Last week, suspected militants ambushed the advance security convoy of the chief minister in Kangpokpi district, leaving a police commando injured.

Addressing an event at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur last week, Bhagwat had said: “Manipur is still burning. Who is going to pay attention to it? It is the duty (of the government) to deal with it on priority.”

Opposition parties and members of civil society groups have slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not visiting the state even once since the unrest began.

Shah, who had visited Manipur in May last year, “was supposed to come again after 15 days” but did not.

Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla, director of Intelligence Bureau Tapan Deka, army chief Gen Manoj Pande, army chief-designate Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi and other security officials were present at the hour-long review meeting on Monday.

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