25th May 2023,Mumbai: This is the first time a minister’s home has been targeted during the continuing racial conflict in the state between the Meitei and Kuki communities.
In the Bishnupur district of Manipur, the home of PWD Minister Konthoujam Govindas was vandalised on Wednesday by a group of people who claimed the state’s administration was not doing enough to safeguard residents from militants from another community, according to officials.
However, the BJP leader minister and his family were not home when the mob, which was primarily made up of women, attacked the home in the Ningthoukhong neighbourhood and destroyed a section of a gate, windows, some furniture, and electronic devices.
The ongoing ethnic unrest between the Meitei and Kuki communities in the state, which began three weeks ago and has already cost more than 70 lives, marks the first time a minister’s home has been attacked. Armed forces from the army and paramilitary groups have been sent in to manage the situation in the state.
“The residents were furious. They said that the Chief Minister N Biren Singh, Govindas, and other BJP MLAs were doing insufficient to safeguard them from armed terrorists and have been silent about the ongoing bloodshed”, an official said.
According to reports, insurgents set some villagers’ homes on fire at Toronglaobi in the Bishnupur district late on Tuesday night. After then, according to officials, the authorities decreased the curfew relaxation hours.
In Churachandpur district, there were speculations of a few people being murdered or injured, but there was no official confirmation.
Lt Gen R P Kalita, commander of the Eastern Army, visited the conflict-torn state of Manipur for three days until Wednesday, according to a defence official in Kolkata, to examine and review the security situation there.
Myanmar and the northeastern state are separated by international borders.
According to the official, the general officer commanding-in-chief of the Eastern Army Command met with local stakeholders, including members of all communities and a number of civil society organisations.
The eastern Army commander “urged suspension of hostilities by all sections of society” during his meetings with the stakeholders.
Lt Gen Kalita visited Kangpokpi, Matripukhri, Churachandpur, Bishnupur, Yaingangpokpi, and Moreh between May 22 and May 24, where he received updates on the security situation from local commanders.
He said he also spoke with the chief minister of Manipur, N Biren Singh, and other top government officials to review the current situation and ways to strengthen coordination among all agencies in order to usher in normality as soon as feasible.
To preserve long-term peace in the area, Kalita advised the people of Manipur to maintain peace and harmony and engage in productive discussion.
From a car in Senapati district, the Army has retrieved five shotguns, five homemade grenades, and three boxes of shotgun ammo.
The force reported on Wednesday that “three persons were apprehended and handed over to the police along with the recovered items.”
After a “Tribal Solidarity March” was planned in the hill districts on May 3 to oppose the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, fighting broke out in Manipur.
Tension over the displacement of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land had caused a number of smaller agitations before to the violence in Manipur.
The majority of Meiteis, who make up around 53% of Manipur’s population, reside in the Imphal Valley. Another 40% of the population is made up of the Naga and Kuki tribes, who live in the hill districts.
Over 70 people were killed during the ethnic confrontations, and 10,000 army and paramilitary men had to be sent in to get things back to normal in the northeastern state.
-by Kashvi Gala