Central forces need not remain in Manipur as mere spectators: Biren

Imphal: “Central forces deployed in Manipur are not required to be deployed in Manipur if they are here to be an audience of the prevailing crisis in the state.”

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh said this on the occasion of the Manipur Statehood Day celebration, here, on Sunday.

“Central forces! You are not invited to observe, to see what is happening. You are invited here to protect the state’s integrity and the lives of innocent people. We are Indians. What do you think?…we will take our own decision.” Biren said.

Manipur has been witnessing violence since May 3 last year, the day Kuki started attacking Meitei escalating to the crisis, which the chief minister terms an act of narco-terrorism and not a mere Meitei-Kuki conflict.

The Chief Minister appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the latter’s recent assurance to end the Free Movement Regime and fence the Myanmar border and said these assurances are the biggest gifts for the people of Manipur.

“It is unfortunate that armed persons are attacking innocent civilians which is inhumane and cowardly,” he said, condemning such attacks in the strongest terms. The chief minister was referring to the recent separate killings of woodcutters and some innocent civilians who were fetching water in the Bishnupur district.

Warning those who are challenging the unity and integrity of the state, Biren said they should know that the indigenous people of the state will come together and unite to meet any such challenge. Stating that there is scope for dialogue, he said, he is ready and that the state security force is also ready for any challenges, but it would be right to cease attacks on civilians.

Biren saluted all security forces who have sacrificed their lives and paid homage to the civilians who have lost their lives during the crisis. Showing concern about the conditions of the relief camp inmates, Biren said DCs should visit the camps at least once in a week and interact with the individuals and families to know their grievances. He said the government is putting all efforts to safeguard and protect the state, every life is precious.

“Manipur, a princely state merged into the Indian Union in 1949 and was granted statehood in 1972,” Biren said. He believed that without equal development in the state, there could be no peace and unity. “The government has been developing infrastructure in the hills over the past five or so years bringing a huge landscape change,” he said highlighting various projects taken up in the hill districts.

“Unfortunately, the unwanted incidents of May 3 last year have stopped the developmental works in some districts,” he added.

Altogether 10 contingents took part in the march-past parade with Ksh. Ravikumar Singh, CO, 1st MR as the Parade Commander, the function was also attended by cabinet ministers, MLAs, HAC chairman, chief secretary, security advisor, police and civil officers, IGAR (S), senior officers from para-military forces, among others.

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