Imphal, May 18: In the aftermath of the brutal ethnic violence in Manipur, concerns have arisen over the large number of weapons looted, primarily by Meitei groups. The looting has raised serious security concerns for the authorities, while 10 MLAs representing the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi-Hmar communities have reiterated their demand for a separate administration, fearing the influence of militant groups.
Reports indicate that during the initial days of the violence, more than 1,000 weapons and 10,000 rounds of ammunition were looted from the Manipur Police Training College, two police stations, and an IRB battalion camp in Imphal by Meitei groups.
Additionally, sources have revealed that Kuki groups attacked and looted police stations in Churachandpur.
The presence of these looted weapons poses a significant threat if not recovered promptly. The Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI), a valley-based umbrella body of civil society groups, has reported receiving anonymous calls urging them to pressure the government to halt the recovery of weapons.
Former CRPF DG Kuldiep Singh, who is advising the Manipur government, stated that 456 arms and 6,670 pieces of ammunition have been recovered thus far. He emphasized that the recovered arms include those looted by both Meitei and Kuki groups.
At the Supreme Court on May 17, Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing the Manipur Tribal Forum Delhi, raised concerns about potential violence against the Kuki community. The court urged the Manipur government to take appropriate action in response to such apprehensions.
Meanwhile, 10 MLAs representing the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi-Hmar communities addressed a memorandum to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, expressing their loss of faith in the BJP-led state government following the violence.
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They stated that they can no longer consider resettling in the Valley and reiterated their demand for a separate administration in the hills. This is not the first time such a demand has been made, as the MLAs had previously released a statement expressing the same sentiment. Notably, no Union minister has visited the state since the outbreak of violence.
As Manipur grapples with the aftermath of the recent violence and the recovery of looted weapons, it is crucial for the authorities to take swift action to ensure the restoration of peace and security in the region. Efforts must be made to address the concerns and demands of different communities and to initiate measures that foster unity and reconciliation among the various ethnic groups in Manipur.