Amit Shah agrees to mull tribal leaders’ demands, but sought 15 days of peacetext_fields
Imphal: Union Minister Amit Shah, who met tribal leaders from the riot-hit Manipur, agreed to consider their demands for the imposition of President's Rule in the state and the creation of a separate administrative bloc. However, he emphasized the need for peace to be ensured in order to bring about normalcy and facilitate constructive dialogues.
Since May 3, a tense situation has prevailed in the state following the violent clashes between two prominent communities in this northeastern state.
During the closed-door meetings, it is reported that Shah not only agreed to seriously consider the demands of the tribal leaders, he also pledged an independent probe into the violence, to be conducted by a central agency or a judicial committee. However, he requested a period of at least fifteen days of peace to ensure normalcy and enable constructive dialogue.
The first round of talks between Shah and the leaders lasted for approximately an hour and included representatives from civil society organizations, student bodies, women's groups, and tribe leaders. Speaking on behalf of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF), spokesperson Ginza Vualzong expressed their commitment to maintaining peace, while emphasizing the need for self-defence if attacked.
Lal Ngaiteh, the spokesperson of the Zomi Students Federation (ZSF), reiterated the desire for peace but expressed a lack of faith in the Manipur government. Ngaiteh cited the disappointment caused by false claims that Article 355 had been invoked to address the situation. The tribal bodies highlighted their concerns and reiterated the need for a separate administration to ensure the welfare and safety of the tribal communities.
In addition to these assurances, Shah promised several other measures to restore peace and stability in Manipur. These included selected cases being taken up by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) with no involvement of state officers, direct benefit transfers for the rehabilitation of those affected, relief material for the state, and the establishment of helpline numbers in Imphal and Churachandpur.
Shah's visit to Manipur spans four days, during which he aims to review the security situation and facilitate dialogue between the conflicting Kuki and Meitei communities. Shah plans to return to the state for three days in June and another three days in July, indicating his commitment to finding a lasting solution.
The educationists and intellectuals who attended the meetings expressed their concerns about the disruption of thousands of students' education due to the violence. Shah assured them that he would discuss the matter with the Cabinet Secretary and explore ways to minimize the disturbance caused.