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Manipur situation result of CM’s “political authoritarianism and ambition”: AR assessment

Nagaland News

DIMAPUR, APRIL 15: The Assam Rifles has squarely blamed Manipur Chief Minister, N Biren Singh and his “political authoritarianism and ambition” for the deteriorating law and order situation in the State, which saw large scale violence last year, which saw 219 people dead, injured 1,100 and displaced 60,000 people.
A report in the leading news portal, Al Jazeera stated that the policies of the BJP-led Governments in Manipur and the Centre have allegedly exacerbated tensions and fostered divisions among communities in the Northeast State.
It is the first candid assessment from a federal Government agency that has made it into the public domain.
A presentation viewed by The Reporters’ Collective, as cited by Al Jazeera, outlined several policies that seemingly targeted the Kukis, highlighting the “State forces’ tacit support” of clashes and the erosion of law-and-order machinery.
This candid assessment from a federal Government agency marks a significant development, especially in the light of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent assertion that timely intervention had significantly improved the situation in Manipur.
However, the ongoing violence belies these claims, underscoring the challenges facing the State.
According to the report, the assessment by the Assam Rifles listed causes of the conflict as determined by officers in the thick of the violence.
It highlighted the impact of “illegal immigrants” from neighbouring Myanmar, the consequent demand for a national register of citizens to reduce migration and the demand for Kukiland.
Kukiland is a separate administrative unit that the political and armed Kuki leadership wants cleaved out of Manipur. The demand for Kukiland has been revived during the ethnic conflict.
Additionally, the presentation asserted that armed groups from the Meitei community are equipping people with weapons and the Kuki community’s armed groups are backing “volunteers”.
All of this has intensified tensions and contradicted attempts by both communities’ leaders to present the conflict as common citizens volunteering for self-defence against the other community, the report stated.
The report further stated that The Reporters’ Collective could not independently verify if the view of the presentation are endorsed by the Assam Rifles as an organisation. Detailed questions were sent to the paramilitary force’s official spokesperson.
Initially, a spokesperson said the Assam Rifles would not be able to respond to something that was “hearsay”.
In a follow-up email, the Assam Rifles said it would “respectfully decline to engage in discussions regarding speculative or unverified matters. As a professional institution, we focus on our core duties and responsibilities, and we have no further comments on this issue at this time.” Later, it asked for a copy of the presentation, the report stated.
The Assam Rifles did not respond to TRC’s follow-up emails asking if it held the views reflected in the presentation, the report claimed.
Queries to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Manipur Chief Minister’s Office remain unanswered.
According to the report, the Assam Rifles presentation was silent on the political and business underpinnings of the conflict, the role of the federal Government – under the BJP – and the Assam Rifles’ own failings and alleged bias.
According to the Assam Rifles presentation, the conflict is divided into three phases: “initiate”, “mutate” and “stalemate”. It laid out how the nature and character of the violence have changed through these stages.
(Page News Service)