Manipur CM's Urgent Plea For Peace As Tourism Tanks In State
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has appealed to the people to stop violence immediately and initiate a process of peaceful dialogue in a bid to end the ethnic crisis. He said this while highlighting that the state's tourism has been severely affected and saw a 10 to 20 per cent dip in the wake of the deadly violence.
Over 180 people were killed and thousands remain internally displaced since one of the worst ethnic violence in the region that began on May 3, this year.
Addressing a press conference, Manipur CM N Biren Singh said, "We cannot deny (tourism) is little affected. But particularly in the Imphal area and other parts of the hills except two districts, normalcy is there. But (tourism) has reduced by 10-20 per cent. During the crisis time, even in the Imphal valley, security vehicles were not allowed to move. We have to take some time because all are our people. We cannot use force against them. Slowly, normalcy is returning. We have to convince the people."
When questioned about the unrest in Manipur in 2023, the Chief Minister remarked that we shouldn't consider eight months because there were four to five months without any crisis in the state.
"From May 3, you are counting 8 months but for 4-5 months, there was no crisis. Everything was peaceful. We should not count 8 months but only the time when the crisis took place. Problem-solving takes time. But in the meantime, I want to appeal to all the citizens of the country, particularly those in Manipur, to stop violence and start peaceful dialogue. We have to live together. We have to resettle the displaced person in their respective places. Children have to go to school," N Biren Singh said.
The conflict between the Kuki and Meitei communities escalated following a rally by the All Tribal Students Union of Manipur (ATSUM) on May 3, leading to ongoing violence, rioting, and significant loss of life. In response, the central government had to deploy paramilitary forces to quell the unrest and restore order in the state.
Earlier in the month, the Supreme Court requested the Manipur government to provide the court-appointed committee with information about the actions it had taken to rebuild the places of worship damaged in the ethnic conflict.
Meanwhile, the Assam Rifles, in collaborative effort with the Manipur Police, discovered weapons and munitions in the Kouburu Ridge area of Noney district on Saturday, as per an official statement.
After receiving information about the existence of weapons and munitions, a combined unit of Assam Rifles and Manipur Police conducted a collaborative search operation on December 23.
A thorough collaborative search of the overall area was conducted, resulting in the retrieval of an AK 56 rifle, a single-barrel gun, ammunition, six grenades, and military supplies, as stated in a report.