The Manipur Cabinet on Saturday said that it has decided to take necessary action against both the state and central forces in any case of “high handedness towards the civilians”, reported NDTV.
The decision came a day after two civilians died and about 50 were injured in a clash with security forces in Pallel town of Tengnoupal district.
On Friday, groups of Meitei women, known as Meira Paibis, had blocked roads and stopped security forces from moving out of their camps to handle the situation in Pallel. Following this, armed forces and some miscreants fired at each other. Security forces also fired tear gas shells to bring the situation under control.
Manipur’s Public Relation Minister S Ranjan said on Saturday that the Cabinet led by Chief Minister N Biren Singh criticised the alleged “unwanted action” of the central armed forces against the protestors. The state government will also apprise the Central government with a report on the issue, he added.
The state-controlled security forces and the central armed forces have been locked in a tussle since the ethnic clashes began in the state on May 3. Last month, the Assam Rifles in Manipur had issued a legal notice to a state politician for making “derogatory remarks” about the central paramilitary force.
The Assam Rifles had sought a written and public apology from Maheshwar Thounaojam, the national secretary of the Republican Party of India (Athawale), for the statements he made at the “Condolence of Meitei Martyrs” in Delhi on June 30. The paramilitary force had said that in the meeting, Thounaojam, a member of the Meitei community, accused them of helping Kuki militants.
“That means the Assam Rifles has to be removed immediately from Manipur,” the force quoted Thounaojam as saying in the notice. “...Does the Assam Rifles have a major role in the violence that has been going on for two months?”
Before this, 40 MLAs from Manipur had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to replace some battalions of the Assam Rifles with “trustworthy Central forces” and teams of the state police. Prior to this, the Manipur government had passed an order to replace the Assam Rifles personnel deployed at a crucial buffer zone between Meitei and Kuki-dominated areas with the state police and the Central Reserve Police Force.
On Saturday, the state Cabinet also approved the extension of “Disturbed Area” under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act for another six months, reported NDTV. AFSPA gives Army personnel sweeping powers in disturbed areas to search, arrest and open fire if they deem it necessary for “the maintenance of public order”.
It also approved a permanent housing scheme for the people displaced during ethnic violence. As many as 4,806 houses that are either destroyed or burnt down in every affected district of the state would be constructed, reported India Today NE.