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MHA to hold talks with Meiteis & Kukis in Manipur to bridge ethnic divide | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: The home ministry will hold talks “at the earliest” with Meitei and Kuki representatives from Manipur as part of a fresh bid to bridge the ethnic divide that has been causing recurrent unrest and clashes between the state’s indigenous communities over the past one year.This was stated by home minister Amit Shah at a meeting chaired by him here on Monday to review the security situation in Manipur, particularly in the wake of fresh ethnic tension triggered by the June 6 killing of a farmer in Jiribam, a town bordering Assam that until now was unaffected by violence.Sources said the talks led by MHA will be different from the off-and-on peace parleys held thus far by a central team led by senior IB officer A K Mishra, usually involving separate talks with the ethnic groups or civil society representatives. “There is a need to bring representatives of both the communities, Kukis and Meiteis, to the table together and resolve issues causing mistrust between them… as it is done in a political-level dialogue,” a senior official who did not want to be named said.Incidentally, Kuki leaders are said to have resisted sitting across the table with Meiteis under the current Manipur regime led by chief minister N Biren Singh. Singh, interestingly, was conspicuous by his absence at Monday’s meeting, the first after BJP lost both Lok Sabha seats in the state. Home ministry sources insisted that the review was limited to the level of officials, which included adviser to Manipur govt Kuldiep Singh, state chief secretary and DGP, Army chief Gen Manoj Pande, Army chief-designate Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, Assam Rifles DG and senior officers of the MHA.Singh, in recent media interviews, had spoken about the need for “central forces to actively support the state’s initiatives”. There have also been rumblings that the state security set-up had failed to act on alerts from the CM’s office about possible ethnic flare-up in Jiribam, which police sources refuted as baseless, citing the five-month gap between the alerts sent in Jan and the tension in Jiribam. A senior IPS officer said the situation in Jiribam was under control and the movement of essential goods resumed 2-3 days ago.An MHA statement following Monday’s review also underlined that “government of India has been actively supporting the Manipur govt in strengthening the security situation in the state”.Shah asked officials to adopt a “coordinated approach” to resolve the ethnic conflict. He said deployment levels of central paramilitary forces may be increased, if required, and that they must be strategically deployed to restore peace and tranquillity in the affected areas. “No further incident of violence should take place in Manipur,” he directed and called for strict action as per law against the perpetrators.Sources told TOI that central forces, now back in the state after deployment for the Lok Sabha polls, are dynamically deployed to cover vulnerable areas. Also, efforts to locate and recover the rest of the 6,000 weapons looted last year will be intensified in the days to come. As many as 2,141 weapons have been recovered so far.Stating that the Modi govt was fully committed to ensuring safety and security of all citizens of Manipur, Shah also reviewed the situation in relief camps housing people displaced by the ethnic violence. He took stock of the availability of food, water, medicines and other basic amenities and directed the state chief secretary to ensure proper health and education facilities for displaced people as well as their rehabilitation.


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