Not ethnic clash, but war against India by militant groups: Manipur CM

Manipur CM Biren Singh. Photo: PTI

Imphal: Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on Sunday stated that the current crisis in Manipur is not a clash between ethnic groups, and also not a law-and-order issue of the state, but "purely a war against the Indian Union by Myanmar and Bangladesh based Kuki militants in collaboration with militant groups operating in Manipur".

The Chief Minister said the unrest was instigated by a group of people who want to disintegrate the state, but the crisis has been "made to look like" an ethnic or communal clash, or religion based, or between the "majority and minority groups".

Biren Singh said that "however, with the voice of people, the real cause has come up". Recalling the statement made by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament and by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Manipur violence and more importantly the statement of the National Investigation Agency on the arrest of one terror suspect, Seiminlun Gangte, on Saturday, the Chief Minister spoke on the "clear causes" of the crisis.

"As the issue is war against the Indian Union, the Central government would further take up necessary measures to tackle it," he said. 

Referring to the arrest of four suspected accused by the CBI in connection with the killing of two young students, including a girl, Biren Singh lauded the swift action taken by the probe agency along with the army, paramilitary forces and the state police. He reiterated the firm stance of the state government to make sure that the culprits are given stringent punishment as per law. 

Initially, six persons, including two women, were arrested in connection with the killing of two students, but as two were minor girls, they were handed over to their relatives at Imphal airport.

The Chief Minister appealed to the people to obey the rule of law like seeking permission from concerned Deputy Commissioners while carrying out protests and rallies. 

He continued that misunderstanding and confrontation between protesters and security forces could be avoided "if we follow rules". 

Meanwhile, in another development, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF), an apex body of tribals in Manipur, on Sunday, called an indefinite shutdown in Churachandpur district in protest against the "abduction of 7 Kuki-Zo people including two minors". 

The ITLF urged the NIA and CBI to release the seven abductees within 48 hours, "failing which more intense agitation will follow in all hill districts of Manipur". 

"All boundary areas with the Meitei inhabited areas will be sealed from tomorrow (Monday). No one will be allowed to enter or leave the buffer zones. All government offices will be closed from tomorrow (Monday)," said Ginza Vualzong, ITLF spokesperson.

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