Security Forces conducted Joint Combing Operations in sensitive areas both in Hills and Valley Sector of Manipur today. The combing operations are aimed at de-escalation of tensions amongst communities through physical domination besides recovery of snatched weapons that are still in the illegal custody of local population.
Security Forces are continuously working towards controlling violence and disarming the society through sustained confidence building measures amongst all sections of the society.
Prior to commencement of search of houses, forests and fields in both valleys as also the hills, locals were urged to voluntarily surrender illegal/ snatched weapons. In the ensuing search operations today, 29 weapons (all types- mostly automatic), mortar, hand grenades, small arms ammunition & warlike stores were recovered.
During the conduct of these operations, adequate measures were undertaken to ensure that the locals are not harassed.
It may be mentioned that for the first time in Manipur after 1980, Indian Army is conducting military combing operations led or accompanied by the magistrate. Earlier, magistrates were not required under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. As AFSPA has been removed from many areas of Manipur, civil administration is required by military in maintenance of law and order.
Earlier, based on a request, received from the Indian Army authorities in Manipur regarding the requirement of Executive Magistrates in the five valley districts and Kangpokpi for conduct of combing operations, home department advised the Deputy Commissioners to detail the Executive Magistrates as AFSPA has been lifted from many police stations falling in these six districts. The Army requested Executive Magistrates only for these districts as Executive Magistrate is not required for conduct of combing operations in other districts where AFSPA is in force.
In a press statement, the Home Department, Manipur said, “It has been widely circulated on social media that combing operations will be conducted only in the valley districts, which is not correct. Combing operations, if necessary, will be conducted in both the valley and hill areas equally to restore peace in the state. Further, to dispel the misunderstanding among the public, the Deputy Commissioners of the districts namely Churachandpur, Pherzawl, Tengnoupal, Candel and Kamjong have also been advised to detail Executive Magistrates for the operations conducted by the security formations even though AFSPA is in force in these districts.”