Union home minister Amit Shah will visit violence-hit Manipur on May 29 and stay there till June 1 to meet and talk to representatives of different communities to “restore” peace in the state.
Union minister of state for home Nityanand Rai on Thursday announced the date of Shah’s visit in Imphal soon after Shah said at an official programme in Guwahati that he would go to Manipur and stay there for three days while appealing for peace.
Rai is the first central minister to visit Manipur to take stock of the situation, 24 days after violence rocked the northeastern state on May 3 following a solidarity rally called by a tribal students union in the hill districts opposing the demand of the majority Meiteis for Scheduled Tribe status.
Rai addressed a media conference where Sambit Patra, the BJP’s co-ordinator of the Northeast states, was also present.
Shah’s proposed visit will take place 26 days after violence erupted in Manipur.
Ongoing clashes between the Meitei and Kuki communities have left at least 75 dead and affected 45,000, besides causing widespread destruction of houses and religious places.
Stray incidents are continuing despite heavy deployment of army and paramilitary forces. The Kukis, mostly Christians, live in the hills, and the Meities, mostly Hindus, live in the six valley districts.
While laying the foundation of the National Forensic Sciences University’s Guwahati Campus, Shah said there had been some clashes in Manipur “because of a court judgement”.
“I want to tell my brothers of Manipur that our job is to ensure peace, to believe in the system. People of both groups should first decide to ensure peace. I want to assure you all on behalf of the central government that justice will be delivered to all and those involved in violence will not be spared…,” Shah said.
He added: “We have to find a way forward through dialogue and peace. Injustice should not be done to anyone…. This is the policy of the Modi government.”
Shah was referring to the March 27 Manipur High Court order directing the state government to consider the inclusion of the Meiteis in the state’s Scheduled Tribes list.
Appealing for peace, Shah said: “After a few days, I will go to Manipur, stay there for three days and talk to all for the establishment of peace, which can be restored only by the people of Manipur.”
“I appeal to everyone to rise above distrust and move forward towards peace. Talk to the Manipur government, talk to the central government. You have to find a way for peace…. Only through dialogue can we establish peace,” he added.
Addressing the media in Imphal, Rai said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been working tirelessly for the development of the Northeast.
“Whatever has happened in Manipur is unfortunate and a hurdle to its development,” Rai said, appealing to the people of the state to have faith in the Union home minister as he had taken the prevailing “situation very seriously”.
“From May 29 evening, he will be here till June 1 evening. He will be here for three to four days. Everybody will get justice. But for justice, there should be peace. It cannot be achieved through ashanti (unrest), through murder or arson. Nobody benefits from such acts,” Rai said.
“The home minister is in Assam today and has issued an appeal. Everything will be solved under the supervision of the home minister. It is a very important visit undertaken in the interest of Manipur. All should keep one thing in mind that you will not achieve anything through ashanti,” Rai said, going on to play on his cellphone a video of Shah’s appeal in Guwahati.
A 13-member team of MLAs from Manipur met Shah in Guwahati. Details were not shared but one of the MLAs said the discussion centred around restoring peace.