“Manipur Violence: Statement by Home Minister Amit Shah
Amit Shah stated, ‘Respected Speaker, for almost 6 years, approximately 6 and a half years, the Bharatiya Janata Party has been in power in Manipur. Since the formation of the Bharatiya Janata Party government, not a single day has seen curfew imposed in Manipur till the first three years. With a plea, I want to emphasize that during the complete 6 years of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s tenure in Manipur, not a single day has witnessed a curfew, not a single day has experienced a blockade, and not a single day has seen any insurgent incident in these 6 years. This has been the history of Bharatiya Janata Party’s 6-year rule in Manipur.'”
“In 2021, there was a change of power in our neighboring region, and democratic rule in Myanmar fell, giving way to military governance. There is a group called the Kuki Democratic Front in that region which initiated a movement for democracy. The military regime there responded with force, and as the border area between India and Myanmar is a free border, there are no fences or barriers. Since the time of our country’s independence, no such thing has existed. Due to this, people from the Kuki community began seeking refuge in Mizoram and Manipur. They started residing in the jungles, leading to a sense of insecurity among the original inhabitants of Manipur living in other regions. This led to the decision in 2022 that the border cannot be left open; we need to establish fencing. A 10-kilometer fencing has been completed, and work is ongoing for a 60-kilometer fencing. A survey for a 600-kilometer fencing is also in progress. He pointed towards the Congress while mentioning that until 2014, no work had been done regarding fencing.”
“In Manipur, the Manipuri people reside in the valley areas, while the Kuki and Naga communities live in the hilly regions. Therefore, demographic changes hold significant importance there. It’s anticipated that we might become a minority.
Considering the seriousness of this matter, in January, we began the work of providing separate identity cards to our comrades. We started the task of conducting thumb impressions and eye impressions, and compiling a negative list with voter lists and Aadhaar cards. Honourable Home Minister Amit Shah stated that it’s not the case that there is negligence in the Home Ministry’s control room. We had initiated the work of fencing in 2022 itself and began the process of thumb and eye impressions and compiling a negative list with Aadhaar in January 2023. But still, with the way their numbers increased, the feeling of insecurity began spreading among the Maitai people.
The Home Minister further explained that there is a free regime similar to Nepal in Free Rajim. Just as people can travel between Nepal and India without the need for a passport, a similar arrangement exists there. This system was in place from before. Under the agreement made in 1968, people residing within a 40-kilometer area on both sides of the border of friendly nations like Brahmdesh do not require a passport for movement. This agreement was signed.
On April 29, 2023, a rumor spread that the 58 bus stops of the refugees had been designated as villages. In order to dispel this rumor, we arranged for vehicles with microphones. However, when rumors spread, it becomes difficult to control the atmosphere of disbelief. This led many to believe that these refugees were going to settle permanently.”
“In this atmosphere of mistrust, where the feeling that these refugees are here to stay forever takes root, considering their vulnerable state, we undertook the task of issuing separate introduction letters to them in the beginning of January. Their thumb impressions and eye impressions were taken, and their names were noted in the negative lists of voter and Aadhaar cards. Honourable Home Minister Amit Shah continued, saying that it’s not true that anyone is asleep in the control room of the Home Ministry. We had initiated the fencing work in 2022 itself, and in January 2023, we began the task of thumb impressions and eye impressions, adding them to the negative list of Aadhaar. However, despite these efforts, as their numbers increased, a sense of insecurity spread among the Maiti people.
The Home Minister further explained that just as there is free passage in the Rajim area of Nepal without needing a passport, a similar provision exists there. This arrangement was established under the agreement in 1968, where in an area of 40 kilometers along the borders of friendly countries, residents on both sides don’t require passports for travel.
On April 29, 2023 a rumor spread that 58 settlements of refugee’s camps had been declared villages. Meitei people took this incident as a threat that we will reduce in such a population and this will be a huge demographic change, due to which Meitei people became very restless.
To address this rumor, we employed vehicles with loudspeakers. However, when such rumors spread, controlling them in an atmosphere of disbelief becomes challenging. Many started believing that these refugees are now permanently settled.
After the court’s decision, the task of pouring ghee into the fire was carried out in the month of April. A decision by the High Court in April triggered this. The High Court suddenly took up a petition that had been pending for years. Neither did they seek an affidavit from the Indian government’s Tribal Commission nor from the Tribal Department, neither from the Ministry of Home Affairs nor from the Manipur government. The High Court’s decision stated that the Meitei community should be declared a tribe before April 29, which led to significant unrest among the Kuki community in the hill areas. The tribes were concerned that if the Meitei community also becomes a tribe, what would happen to our rights. Due to the decision being given without any legal process, unrest ensued both in the hills and the valley, leading to conflicts between both sides starting on May 3, 2023.
The decisive element was the court’s judgment on the case, the final date of which was May 29. In opposition to this, a procession was organized, during which a clash erupted between the two groups, resulting in confrontations both in the valley and the hills, eventually escalating into attacks on each other.
Honorable Home Minister Amit Shah stated further that he would discuss what actions were taken after this violence. However, he first wants to make it clear that understanding Manipur’s history of ethnic violence is crucial.
The 1993 Ethnic Violence: The late PV Narasimha Rao was the Prime Minister. Rajkumar Dhirendra Singh (Congress) was the CM. Naga-Kuki ethnic violence took place at that time.
- 700 people were killed
- 200 people were injured
- 48,000 people became refugees
Honorable Home Minister Amit Shah mentioned that this violence lasted for about a year and a half, and questioned why the Congress is expecting answers from the Prime Minister when at that time the immediate Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Rajesh Pilot, responded. Amit Shah further questioned why they are not asking Congress why the Prime Minister did not visit? Did the Union Home Minister visit the people? In such a situation, the presence of the Union Home Minister doesn’t raise any questions. He continued to point out that when the opposition asks why the Prime Minister didn’t visit, the Congress should also be asked why the immediate Home Minister didn’t stand up and why MOS gave the answer. He highlighted that this kind of questioning is still going on in the Parliament. He continued by saying that in 1993, the second ethnic violence took place.
- 100 people were killed
- Jay Andolan (Protest) also continued for 1 year
- In Lok Sabha, no one provided an answer. Only in Rajya Sabha, the Home Minister responded.
Opposition members want the Prime Minister to respond.
1997-98 Kuki-Paite Conflict:
At that time, Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral was in office. During this period, there was a year-long ethnic conflict. These figures are only related to ethnic violence and do not include incidents of extremism. This violence continued for a year without any discussion in Parliament, and all questions were dismissed.
Honorable Home Minister Amit Shah, pointing towards the opposition, stated that this history exists, and he mentioned that he is sincerely willing to respond. He said it is his duty to respond to the country, to Parliament, and to the opposition.
Minister Amit Shah raised questions towards the opposition and said that the opposition claims that the no-confidence motion was brought to topple Mohan, to which he responded that those who remained silent lost, but we, the ones who speak, are standing here to answer. We do not maintain silence. We do not have a manual. If they want to hear names, they should stand up in Parliament and ask.
In 2004, Shri Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister. Encounter killings of 1700 people occurred, but no discussion took place.
Continuing, Amit Shah mentioned that this situation was a result of ethnic violence and should not be given a political interpretation. He pointed out that he had worked here continuously for three days, changing the DGP there, changing the Chief Secretary, deploying 36,000 CAPF personnel using airplanes, and responding to around 356 inquiries. He clarified that Section 356 is imposed when the Chief Minister is not cooperating.
Presenting violence statistics, the Honorable Home Minister explained that in the age of social media, nothing can be hidden. He told the Parliament that until now:
- 152 people were killed
- 107 deaths occurred in May
- 130 deaths occurred in June
- 15 deaths occurred in July
- 4 deaths occurred in August
- 14,898 people were arrested
- 1,106 FIRs have been registered.
Unfortunate Manipur Viral Video:
In response to the viral video incident in Manipur, the Home Minister of the country, Shri Amit Shah, stated that such incidents where any woman, any young woman, faces such an event anywhere in the world is a stain on society. Nobody can support it. However, some friends from the media raised a question in my mind. Amit Shah mentioned that he was asked why such an unfortunate video surfaced just a day before the parliamentary session. He said that if someone had a video, they should have given it to the police. While respecting the dignity of women, such videos should not have been viralized in this manner. If such a video had reached us in time, we could have taken immediate action and arrested those responsible. As soon as the video came to us, using facial recognition software, 9 out of 9 individuals were arrested, put in jail, and are currently undergoing a trial in jail.
During this entire incident, I also stayed in Manipur for three days and three nights. Besides that, the Minister of State for Home Affairs (MOS), Nityanand Ji, stayed in Manipur for 23 consecutive days. For the investigation of all these incidents, we have constituted a commission of retired judges of the High Court, including an IPS and IAS officer. They will investigate this entire sequence of events. We have also established a peace committee with the Governor as the chairman. We have deployed more than 36,000 paramilitary forces. According to the Home Minister, the anger of both communities has not subsided yet. However, the main reason for the reduction in violence is the establishment of a buffer zone between the Meitei and Kuki communities, where paramilitary forces have been deployed.
A Unified Command has been established, headed by the Chief State Secretary. The primary task of this Unified Command is to foster good coordination among various security agencies present in the state.
Highlighting various relief measures, the Honorable Home Minister informed the Parliament that in such situations, we will swiftly gain control over deteriorating conditions.
Q1: What is the main subject of the speech mentioned in the article?
A1: The main subject of the speech is the situation in Manipur and the statement by Amit Shah, the Home Minister of India, regarding various events and actions taken in the state.
Q2: What political party has been in power in Manipur, and for how long?
A2: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been in power in Manipur for almost 6 years.
Q3: How has the security situation in Manipur been characterized during the BJP’s tenure?
A3: The BJP’s tenure in Manipur has seen no curfew, blockade, or insurgent incidents for a continuous period of 6 years.
Q4: What role did neighboring Myanmar play in the discussed events?
A4: Neighboring Myanmar experienced a change in power and shift to military governance, which had implications for Manipur due to movements for democracy and refugee influx.
Q5: Why did the Kuki community seek refuge in Mizoram and Manipur?
A5: The Kuki community sought refuge due to a conflict in their neighboring region, which led them to reside in the jungles of Mizoram and Manipur, causing concerns among the original inhabitants.
Q6: What measures were taken to address demographic changes in Manipur?
A6: The government initiated the process of issuing separate identity cards, including thumb and eye impressions, to the refugees, alongside compiling negative lists with voter and Aadhaar details.
Q7: How did a rumor affect the situation in Manipur?
A7: A rumor that 58 refugee settlements were declared villages led to unrest and concerns about demographic changes among the Meitei community.
Q8: What legal decision triggered conflicts in Manipur?
A8: An unexpected decision by the High Court, stating that the Meitei community should be declared a tribe, led to unrest between different communities in Manipur.
Q9: How did the government respond to the viral video incident in Manipur?
A9: The government took swift action after a viral video incident, using facial recognition software to arrest individuals involved and initiate a trial.
Q10: What actions were taken to restore peace and security in Manipur?
A10: Measures included the deployment of paramilitary forces, the establishment of a Unified Command, and the formation of a peace committee to ensure coordination and stability in the region.